The word churning* here has three meanings.
First, it represents the churning of the world around us. Like clothes in a washing machine, or a cork floating in the sea, changes in technology, the economy, politics, the environment, social attitudes, and more are churning all our lives. We are experiencing massive changes and we cannot tell what will happen next.
The second meaning is the emotional churning that we sometimes feel as a result. When the world around us is complex, ambiguous, volatile, and unpredictable it is natural for us or the people around us to sometimes feel ‘churning’, often in our chests or stomachs.
And finally there is the ‘churning’ that turns cream into butter**. With the right tools we know that we can use churning to transform a liquid into something that is more solid, longer-lasting, and more valuable.
The core message of The Churning is that if we know how to do so, with the right tools it is possible (chapter by chapter) to use the inner churning that we feel and the outer churning of the world around us to transform both ourselves and our organisations into something stronger, longer-lasting, and more valuable.
* For non-native English speakers, the word ‘churning’ means something similar to ‘turmoil’ but slightly softer, gentler:
getümmel, wirbel, aufgewühlt, tumult, gärung
tourmente, agitation, trouble, agitation, désarroi, barattant
agitación, excitación, conmoción, convulsión, tumulto, fermentación
turbulência, agitação, perturbação, tumulto, turbilhão, barafunda
** The ancient Hindus also understood this process. They described it in the legend of The Churning of the Milk Ocean.
Photo credit: Karen Arthur