Weekly Reflections

Sunday 28th June

What I’ve noticed

My attention this week has been drawn to transitions, and our attitude to them. That as the not-so-delicate dance of exiting lockdown continues, the remarkable discipline that accompanied it is evaporating.

From street parties to holidays, we don’t want to do gradual. People want to make the most of whatever Summer remains, and short term pressures are overiding the longer term perspective. Autumn, and the normal rise of the flu season is only 3 months away.

In the wider economy, we are opening up holiday flights, ignoring the previous rules around social distancing in Schools, and generally sidelining the advice that was being trumpeted only a month ago.

It brought to mind a line by Benjamin Zander, Orchestra Conductor and Coach:

When you declare yourself an unwilling victim of a known risk, you have postured yourself as a poor loser in a game you chose to play.

Ben Zander, Art of Possibility.

My guess is that numbers of people will be poor losers by winter by taking risks they need not.

What I’ve been reading

I’m still processing some of last week’s load, but have started a couple more:

Art of Possibility. Ben Zander and Ros Stone. Another re-read of a wonderful book written around music that seems particularly relevant to the times we are in.

Dialogue. The Art of Thinking Together. William Isaacs. Another re-read. A more structured approach to the conversatons around human ambition that we seem to have mislaid the art of in business.

The View Through the Medicine Wheel. Leo Rutherford. I’ve long found the challenge to my puzzler trained mind posed by shamanic wisdom productive. This well written book is a pleasure, and in parts could as easily be an introduction to Quantum thinking.

The Square and the Tower. Niall Ferguson. I’m re-reading this excellent book on networks, hierarchies and the quest for power because it seems to speak to our current situation and puts them in context. We have been here before.

Things I’ve liked

The Transformative Power of Classical Music. TED talk by Ben Zander – and a good taster for his book.

Jurgen Klopp. Trust, Patience and Hard Work. A good piece from The Guardian on Klopp as a modern leader. Much to admire here.

Interrogating and shaping the World through Science. Longer read from “Edge” Magazine on a conversation with Ainissa Ramirez.

What I’ve learned

That better, more creative, more exploratory conversations are at the heart of the change many of us want to see. A more balaced economy that eschews consumption as a mantra and embraces the planet and all of us on it.

That given half an opportunity it’s possible to open up exciting, inspiring conversations about possibility.

That there is a clear arc to great conversations that starts with a hard look at what is really going on, through what we want to change, to how that might be done, through to conversations about doing it and finishing with what is actually happening. Long, soaring conversations that marry ambition to action built on working together.

That these conversations happen first in small groups – less than ten – that can develop the relationships and rhythm that power them. We can scale the number of conversations and learn from their variety to create relentless incremental change for the better.

That of all the things we can do right now, starting with these sort of conversations is the most powerful, with the most potential.

What I’m up to

I am very focused on enabling conversations, and learning how we can make them better.

I want to see if we can foster an outbreak of small, powerful conversations that change things at a local level in the sort of businesses we want to drive the recovery. Business to be proud of run by people who can inspire better.

So, right now I’m very keen to talk to people who want to do the same, and see what we can learn from each other. We’ve created a space to start at Originize. We’d love to talk to you if this is you.

Have a great week.

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