Interesting Times

Here in the UK, today will be interesting, as in the sense of the Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times”. Whatever happens, it is likely to be a watershed.


I keep this image on my office wall. The Cynefin (Welsh for Habitat) is a simple framework for considering the evolution or status of a challenge, and how we might respond.

The conditions we find ourselves in, in the UK and way beyond, means that we are dealing with at least complex, and often chaotic environments. It means we often can’t rely on precedent, and have to either really question why we are doing what we are doing, or sometimes just act and respond to what happens. Brexit all over really.

The problem is when we try to manage it. To be safe. To avoid blame.

Leadership is about winning hearts and minds in pursuit of shared purpose. Hearts and minds, not logic. In pursuit of something that really matters, something that resonates in our soul.

The consequences of the current “animal spirits” abroad in the markets, means this matters to those of us running organisations as never before. If we are doing something that matters, that attracts real followers, we have something to hang onto in the storm.

If we don’t, we are likely to find ourselves cast adrift. It enables us to act from a deep sense of purpose, sense what is happening and respond.

How might we do that?

John Boyd, arguably one of the greatest strategists of the last century devised the OODA loop.


It was based on a lifetime of research and practice, and its power lies in its depth. It goes way beyond agility, and is in my view, an excellent template for considering the times we find ourselves in.

Worth looking at in the times we are going through.





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