Now that the dust has settled on the UK general election it’s time to reflect. In this case not on the social and economic consequences, but one really strange aspect of the election.

I don’t mean UKIP picking up 15% of the vote and one seat, or the SNP routing all before them in Scotland.

What stood out was just how wrong the pundits got it. We had dozens of opinion polls from a range of fairly sophisticated polling agencies, in what is supposed to be the information age. We had online polls, offline polls, all sorts; Even the bookies, who are normally on the money at gauging public sentiment, were a country mile off the mark (although most will still have made money).

At just before midnight when the first results came through, few were prepared for the results, one suspects that David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon had all cleared their diaries for weeks of hard haggling, and the Queen was not banking on needing to be in residence at Buckingham Palace early the following afternoon.

There are lessons business can draw from politics in this case, and questions that are raised.

  • Do you really understand what is going on as much as you think?
  • Are you asking the right question(s)?
  • Are you asking the right people?
  • Do they feel able to give you the right information?
  • Are they giving you the right information?

The above apply to your staff, your customers and the marketplace in general. So is it time to do a reality check and ensure you are in the right place with all of the above?

Image: By Wereon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

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