The spectre of Brexit hangs over Europe. It is dividing families, friends, electorates and political parties themselves. The maladies of confusion, fear, mistrust and anger are infecting society, commerce and industry. The result is damage to national and international unity of purpose, harmony of ideals and healthy lives. In the UK and the EU political obstinacy, serious doubts and conflicting opinions have eroded confidence and mutual respect. This epidemic is affecting the health of nations and the prognosis is gloomy. The established processes have broken down and the machines of government are paralysed. Negotiation has reached a crisis point with no prospect of a solution that satisfies all sides.
With global disruption and social unrest the consequences are huge, but the same destructive forces work at a lower level across all aspects of life. Divisions within an industry, a company or a team generate the same friction and things become heated. Misunderstanding, lack of accurate information, poor communication and refusal to compromise will undermine the cohesion and efficiency of any collective endeavour. Order and purpose can be easily and rapidly destroyed and progress halted, or even reversed. Momentum is lost and optimism replaced with angry pessimism and underlying depression.
The healing process
Remedies for this condition are complex and treatment will not provide a quick cure. While individuals, leaders and decision-makers wrestle with the impact of Brexit on them and those for whom they are responsible, the world continues to spin on its axis and we must all adapt to survive. In business, as in any enterprise or institution, there are stakeholders and customers. Serving their needs and sustaining the future of the organisation requires continued co-operation, consistent standards and methods, monitoring and communication. The ultimate objective must be to restore and reinforce a unity of purpose, harmony and a feeling of well being.
The first elements that must be present are trust and mutual respect. Honesty and flexibility help to reduce prejudice and increase willingness to co-operate. Setting out a strategy with milestones and objectives will only work if all concerned are willing to commit fully to the “course of treatment” and to its completion. The medicine may taste unpleasant and have side effects, but recovery offers the prospect of a better future and a more rewarding life.
Once the scars start to heal and confidence returns, the physiotherapy kicks in. If you are rebuilding a team, an organisation or even a nation, engaging with the entire audience must be your primary aim. That requires a clear message showing the potential improvements that will come and how they can be achieved. Methodology must be explained and training provided, to give everyone an equal opportunity to shine. The importance of seeking and obtaining support when needed cannot be stressed too much. Nobody should be expected or permitted to function alone. Collective strength is the biggest single resource available. So, with unity restored the adventure begins!
Harmony has many definitions and applications. The most obvious one may be in music, where a score is composed with which to produce the “product”. The notes make up the musical “plan”. Instrumentalists and singers follow a process, called “performance”, to create the “output”, which in this case has an emotional and sometimes transformative impact on its consumers. We all know what happens if harmony is not achieved – a cacophony of sound is likely to be rejected in the same way as a broken product.
Finally in this analogy we come to health. A physical or mental state of well being is desirable but not always possible. We all have a moral duty to care for others in the same way we expect to be helped when we are unwell. Stress is the most obvious, immediate threat to health from political and social unrest and division. Risks to health affect society because we are interdependent. That applies within teams and across organisations. Mutual respect and support improve happiness and motivation. Praise and recognition increase confidence and ambition. Enterprise leaders should always be aware of the threats to health from a lack of unity and harmony. They must be diligent and prepared to act, to maintain a healthy atmosphere.
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#productivity #communication #conflict #government #eu