Reflections 30th August

My ” thinking seat” at Chatsworth

What I’ve noticed.

We seem to be in something of a phase change. Perhaps it’s the onset of Autumn, or the experience not so much of U turns by our government as much a set of donuts that would put Lewis Hamilton to shame. All smoke and noise with little forward motion.

We’re betwixt and between. In a Liminal space.

Being encouraged – cajoled even – to go back to the office at the same time as we’re seeing new real spikes in other major cities in Europe, and the vast majority of people who’ve been working from home saying they’re just fine thankyou.

On the one hand Universities desperate for people to go back (their finances and business models depend on it) whilst the representatives of those who actually do the teaching saying they think its dangerous. In the meantime, those who desgned their courses to be online are doing just fine, without a vice chancellor in sight. Google is stirring it up nicely.

Deserted city centres. Subsidised fast food. The end of Furlough. The start of Flu season. A change of season and a change of mindset.

Online business as default, not option. I have been amazed at my own habit change as to what I buy. Less of better, delivered. My car mileage and carbon emissions more than halved.

The man from Amazon travelling once with lots, rather than lots of us travelling once for a little. I needed a broken pair of glasses replaced, £3.50 delivered, or a journey and a £5.00 parking charge to collect from an Intu centre that has a sense of quiet foreboding. Easy decision

This is a time for leadership. Not the sort that thinks it comes with the job title, but the sort that embraces uncertainty as opportunity. The sort that accepts responsibility, not avoids it by scapegoating. The sort that brings people together with a story. People who lead from purpose, not entitlement. People for whom community is something more than a concept.

It’s a huge opportunity.

What I’ve been reading and listening to

I’m loving the gentle but deep provocation of Braiding Sweetgrass. It’s one of those books that can be read one small chapter at a time in between other work, and each chapter has a message of real clarity. Hugely recommended.

On Time and Water. Andri Snaer Magnason. A eulogy for the Okjokull Glacier. We’ve all had a hand in it’s demise.

The Lost Art of Good Conversation. Sakyong Mipham. Rereading this. If ever there was a time for good, meaningful conversations, it’s now.

Amateurs and Professionals. From the FS blog. The difference between the mindsets of professonals and amateurs. Right now, we need professionals, not entitled amateurs. A provoking 3 min read.

Catastrophes and Calms. From Aeon. A perspective on where we are right now, and why it’s both important and encouraging.

A quote

Let me keep my distance, always, from those 

who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say 

“Look!” and laugh in astonishment, 

and bow their heads.

Mary Oliver.

What I’ve learned

To borrow from Marshall Goldsmith, that the people who got us here, won’t get us there. The leadership we’re looking for is often right next to us, within our own communities. People whose future is invested in you, and yours in theirs.

Whilst money is a vital lubricant to do what’s needed, it makes a truly crap goal. There are brilliant, commited people doing what they believe in, in return for enough money to keep going doing important things. Look to them.

What I’m up to.

Working with small groups with big aspirations.

If you’d like to learn more, or start your own, contact us.

Catalysing the Future is set for Sept 30th. Here are some links. Join us.


Twitter: @CatalyzeFuture.

Have a great week.

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