Bringing it back to 'first principles'

Tue, Dec 01 2015

I recently heard a speech by Jill Margo, accomplished author and men’s health columnist for the Australian Financial Review, at the Sydney Institute.

Talking about her latest book, Frank Lowy: A Second Life, Margo highlighted Frank Lowy’s ability to ask the most basic questions, which often reframed a business issue or economic development, and referred to this as bringing the discussion back to ‘first principles.’

Jill observed that this ability served him particularly well during his tenure as a Director of the Reserve Bank of Australia between 1995 and 2005, where he was able to cut through theoretical economic discussions and bring the focus back to the real-world impact of monetary policy decisions.

As communicators, the ability to bring a discussion back to first principles is essential – by asking questions such as: who do we want to reach with this message, why do we want to reach them and what changes do we want them to make? It’s by asking these types of questions that, as communicators, we ensure our work is not only effective, but delivers a tangible business result and provides our clients with a significant return on their investment.

Unfortunately for our former Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey, this is a principle all too often ignored by our nation’s leaders when communicating the need for change.

Prime Minister Turnbull and Treasurer Morrison would do themselves, and the country, a great service by bringing their community engagement around reform back to first principles, and by doing this, would inevitably come to the conclusion that their customers (the Australian community) need to be at the centre of this dialogue to ensure a sustainable momentum is created.

Not only would it be compelling television to see Scott Morrison appear solo on a future episode of Q&A, but it would present an incredible opportunity to prosecute the case for reform. Or why not mount a series of televised community hall discussions around the country, or drop in for the morning to spend some quality time on the couch with Kochie?

Or what about the return of ‘community cabinets’, which, although an ALP concept, would fit in perfectly with Turnbull’s pitch as the leader of a government “that is thoroughly consultative.”

Whatever the approach Turnbull and Morrison take to creating community engagement around reform, if they stick to their first principles, they should have a better chance of success.

Author: Sefiani Communications, original blog found here: http://www.sefiani.com.au/blog/bringing-it-back-to-first-principles/

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