What often happens in Civvy Street is lurching from crisis to crisis, occasionally decapitating the old team — exactly the way nasty autocracies work, with infrequent, total and convulsive decapitations marking catacymic transitions between one unchanging junta and the next, induced by a change of Generalissimo. Surely we can do better than that? Yes we can, he says. For a start we can recognise four phases of denial:
- Dismiss the problem — “It can’t be”
- Rationalise the problem, projecting it on someone else — “you have the issues, not us...”
- Mitigate the problem — try prozac
- Confront the problem — hopefully not the other person, but confront myself honestly, recognising that until I change nothing else will.
- Unflinching honesty.
- All our practices are hypotheses open to revision, not absolutes. It’s fine to decide we do need to maintain them, but they still need justifying in contemporary conditions, again and again.
- Listen to renegades and dissidents: resource not infliction
- Develop new strategic options in as enriched a way as possible all the time, engaging as many people as possible in a meritocratic way in the discussion.