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  • Writer's pictureCatriona Hudson

Monday Musings - 6th April 2020

Joseph de Maistre (French philosopher) famously said ‘every nation gets the Government it deserves’ A difficult thought for some at this time!

It got me wondering – if every nation gets the Government it deserves then my own personal quote (it’s mine – get your own) of ‘you get the culture you create and therefore the culture you deserve’ should also perhaps ring true?

But then added to that the concept of ‘shadow of the leader’ and we perhaps start to get a real insight into why everywhere feels just so – what’s the word – ‘challenging’ at the moment.

I was recently asked to do a piece of work in a junior school, a session for the teachers to look at their personal resilience, well-being, sense of accountability, resourcefulness and self-belief. A great piece of work, certainly, but they confessed that it wasn’t so much for them (although they clearly saw the benefits – what’s not to love!) but rather their primary focus was to enable them to support their pupils. Increasingly, they stated, pupils were presenting worrying behaviours around stress and anxiety - at an alarming rate. This was not a ‘difficult’ school, indeed its Ofsted ratings were good, the geographical area fairly average and the staff pretty settled and no doubt effective. However, the teachers had noticed this worrying trend over the past few years and when I asked what they thought the route cause might be – the answers ranged from social media to peer pressure

It made me wonder ---- if we get the government we deserve and the culture we create, then what on earth is going on in our society, businesses and homes? How are we as functioning adults operating in these contexts to create a ‘culture’ of stress and anxiety to such extreme levels for many of our children?

We all know about VUCA and I think there is a risk that we can be a tad flippant about that – accepting it as an ‘excuse’ or just the way it is, that we just need to ‘learn to be comfortable’ with ambiguity,  without really thinking about how we address or successfully work and function within this VUCA world. As humans we know we CAN change, we know we can adapt to change (Charles Darwin told us that one years ago) - but the pace of change and lack of clarity of purpose (different to goal!) perhaps is what we are floundering with?

Never has it been more important to stop, understand (maybe take a breath or two) and then define the next steps.

In a world of ‘instant’ it is perhaps time for us to take a step back, get to route cause and then make informed choices and decisions as to ‘why, what and how’ next.  As an OD professional it strikes me that we have the skills and expertise to really help and challenge (at least organisations if nothing else!) to take that step back – to really think about not just what they need to achieve but WHY and HOW.

In a time of cuts, restructures, acquisitions, mergers we must think about the impact on the whole system which of course includes the culture and the people. We need to consider how our actions and deeds not only affect our bottom line but the lives of our people, our customers, their families and ultimately our sense of who we are.

You set the culture/government you deserve. Choose and act wisely.

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