Signs of the Churning, 1: British Politics

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 07.19.24Less than five months ago we were all certain that the outcome of the British general election would be another hung parliament (see: Guardian, Telegraph). Instead, the Conservative Party won a clear outright majority.

In the resulting race for the Labour leadership every pundit agreed that “left wing outsider” Jeremy Corbyn was “unelectable”. He won in the first round, with almost sixty percent of the vote and a 76% turnout.

Despite having won “a bigger landslide than Tony Blair in 1994“, many persisted in their view that his popularity makes Labour unelectable in 2020, and is “a recipe for electoral defeat“. The Tory Party meanwhile continued to launch attack after attack, calling Corbyn a “threat to national security“, then “disloyal” for not singing the National Anthem, then criticising him as “national joke” for not going to watch a game of rugby.

And then the Prime Minister himself was unexpectedly attacked, by … a previous deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, who had donated £8m to it, and who now published damning and lurid revelations that “entertained the whole country on a dreary Monday morning” and had the whole world laughing.

In a time of churning the old rules begin to break down.

If you can predict what is going to happen next you are a better person than me.

(Something really unlikely perhaps? Like Volkswagen losing €25bn of market capitalisation in just two days as its shares fall more than 30 percent on revelations that the company cheated in emissions tests?)

In a time of churning it becomes increasingly difficult to predict what will happen next. Some would say impossible.

In such an environment, traditional planning becomes useless.

The only solution is to prepare for the unexpected: to ensure that you have the attitude and the competencies needed to survive (and prosper) no matter what happens.

The Churning provides tools to enable this to happen, both for ourselves (inner leadership) and for our organisations (outer leadership).

Applied well, these can create leaders and organisations who not only survive in a time of churning but actually become stronger because of it, become ‘antifragile’: who accept the churning and see each new challenge as an opportunity to clarify what is important and improve their ability to achieve it.

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