x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

The personal is political

Borrowing from the structures of government is one way to organise one's life.

I have always been an avid follower of politics, not just for the principles involved, but for the systems.

Indeed, I've found that one can use the structures of government as a way to organise one's life.

For example, whenever I enter a new job, I adopt a 100-day strategy to make my mark.

Admittedly, the overall aim of the plan is not to be turfed out before I make a real impression, but the 100-day mark is also a useful timeframe for me to establish the full parameters of the job, meet the people I need to please and scope out any potential threats.

You can take the government comparisons further when it comes to your social life by viewing your key friends as your cabinet, who dutifully advise you if you are overreaching or your initiatives are flatly wrong.

Each friend, although valued for their many qualities, can be consulted for a particular reason, from your health to your financial affairs, effectively giving them roles as ministers in your government.

Of course, this relies on you not surrounding yourself with yes men.

The other day I had a meeting with my fitness fanatic colleague, Rasha. Due to her tough-minded approach to pushing through her agenda I thought she was an ideal candidate for the health portfolio.

"I am not impressed by you, sorry," this minister said to her leader. "I am giving you all these ideas to be healthy and you keep throwing it away by eating junk. If you can just once listen to me I will have you back on track in no time."

I don't allow too many ministers to address me in such a fashion but Rasha is renowned for achieving results, so I give her leeway.

Another benefit of this system is that your ministers should keep you honest. So when I summoned them all via e-mail to announce my raft of new initiatives for the second half of the year, it was met with robust discussion.

"How can you travel to Kiev if you can't pay your phone bill?" one chimed.

"These are big promises you are making, can you deliver?" another asked wearily.

"I am concerned these drastic steps could result in your summoning to the International Court [travelling back to Australia to face Mum and my six aunties]. Surely you have to first start by building some sort of consensus."

Some initiatives will be a proven success, thus raising your approval ratings, while others will fall flat and you will have to explain yourself.

But, like most leaders, if such setbacks arrive I can simply sack a minister (or at least, just not call them anymore) or arrange a cabinet reshuffle.

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