Valid, effective decision making involves a gathering and consideration of all data points. Emotion can certainly be a factor, but there is always danger of emotion clouding judgment so it is not advisable this be a singular consideration. Gut instinct, too, can often prove less than valid when one is missing critical input on which to digest toward it.

There are some troubling factors around the data portion of the consensus decision that Brexit ultimately was. Those who led and marketed the exit argument apparently put forward a shallow and targeted number of facts in order to influence their cause, tapping into fear triggers in their messaging. And although the remain leaders marketed economic facts, they fell dry upon an emotional portion of the populace, if the data even got to them.

Messaging is critical to effective leadership, especially involving consensus decision making. Messages must be transparent and broadly acknowledge and address all factors. It is not clear to me that either side did so. As a result, a phrase coming from voters out of the aftermath is “but I didn’t know that…”. So tell me, how can a consensus vote be wholly valid when so many were apparently un- or ill-informed?

Leadership, to be effective in such an instance, does well to take decision making back, ensure it is based on all information, decide what is right for the common good then transparently inform reasoning. In the case of Brexit, how does it serve the common good to blindly follow the will of an un- and/or ill-informed voting population?  Is that not a large reason the vote was non-binding?  Personally, I vote for representatives I trust to make the best decision for all concerned, even if I don’t immediately understand from my personal context. So, why do so many seem hell bent on micromanaging their representatives to personal whims?  I can only consider addressing that in a separate blog.

The vote in Brexit was simply too close at a 4% margin, especially since there seems a good lot of reconsideration occurring in the aftermath of the vote. The question is, will leadership blindly follow what on so many accounts appears to be a less than valid decision by consensus or do what is right for the common good then transparently message well their reasoning? I am hoping for the latter.

For the common good and all those involved in it,
~ Jacqueline Gargiulo, scholar-practitioner of human systems