Management Guru and respected Author points to Five Things Theresa May got Wrong

A survey earlier this year found that 70% of MPs think that Theresa May has done a bad job of handling Britain’s withdrawal from the EU – but where has she actually gone wrong?

Chris Griffiths is a best-selling author, with his upcoming book “The Creative Thinking Handbook” due for release in April. He is also a productivity guru and the founder of OpenGenius, the creators of visual task management tool DropTask – here Chris offers analysis of Theresa May’s performance in Brexit discussions and points to five key shortcomings.

1) She acted on assumptions

“Assumptions are dangerous because they lead us to think we know more than we do.”

In 2017, Theresa May called a snap general election based on the assumption that her positive poll ratings at the time were correct. She did so without considering the volatile nature of a divided Britain post-referendum.

This was a huge mistake which resulted in a Hung Parliament and forced the Conservatives into a deal with the DUP.

2) Her thought process was reactive

“When we’re reactive we risk overlooking valuable opportunities to be creative in a fluctuating environment because we’re too busy swiftly executing what’s always worked before.”

Before setting out to negotiate with the EU Mrs May continually insisted: “No deal is better than a bad deal” – this mantra, likely intended to make the EU pliable in negotiations – has come back to haunt May who has since gone back on this stance.

By being reactive to the situation at hand, May failed to consider the future implications of such a statement.

3) She let the event take control

“When we react quickly to an event but don’t have a clear grasp of the whole picture, we’re not necessarily going to reach our destination quicker.”

Wrapped up in Brexit, Mrs May gave too much time to the hard Brexiteers of the Conservative Party which resulted in the resignation of three Conservative backbenchers.

They said their decision to leave was based on a “a shift to the right” which they saw as a consequence of the government’s “disastrous handling of Brexit.”

4) She engaged in selective thinking

“It’s our tendency to favour information that confirms an existing belief or preconception, regardless of whether the information is true.”

The January vote on the Prime Minister’s EU withdrawal agreement resulted in the heaviest parliamentary defeat of the democratic era. In negotiations, May was unable to consider the full requirements which needed to be met to get the deal through parliament.

5) She is a victim of functional fixedness

“Sometimes we’re far too close to a situation to see it neutrally and objectively. We assume that the way we see the problem is the right way to see it but this isn’t always the case.”

From calling the snap election, right through to the second rejection of her EU withdrawal deal on Tuesday evening, Theresa May has shown time and again that she is unable to operate objectively on Brexit. Her lack of creativity has led us to dead ends with no time to reassess.

To make clear and defined decisions one must follow a process that eliminates cognitive biases – Theresa May’s inability to see herself as more than just the “Brexit negotiator” limited her ability to find creative solutions that are now unavailable to us.


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