I am Awake
I Am Awake
I am awake, now. No doubt about it. I’ve checked.
I am awake and this is not a dream, not a matter of opinion, not some virtual relocation into a parallel universe.
But this reality seems unreal, unlikely, certainly unexpected and remarkable. Have I flipped, or am I momentarily out of sync with a world that flipped during deep sleep?
Some great struggles seem interminable — so deeply embedded that resolution seems impossible. How long have we argued for a long-term response to Climate Change? How determinedly has action been resisted? Did we not notice how the naysayers’ nous was running close to empty? Not just on planet-saving survival-essential Climate Action. Double-Flip! Brexit’s gone the same way.
No shortage of evidence either. Not ‘straws in the wind’. Not the hopeless idealism of wishful thinkers. Captains of Industry from a great country gather, not at home but in an oil-rich fossil-fueled state, to reflect on their domestic and global policies and priorities. The Institute of Directors of India — with an economic and societal clout way beyond their UK brethren — listen with care to no-punches-pulled governance advice from the President of the UK-based Institute of Management Services. “With climate change, if we wait for other people to catch up we may condemn our children and grand-children to a future of scavenging in dumps of our rubbish while dealing with extreme weather events.”– Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas.
Steady on. This is surely not some radical hotbed of fervent revolutionaries. The terribly polite, precisely articulated, deeply respectful, 29th World Congress on Leadership for Business Excellence and Innovation is packed with globally well-educated minds that manage details — experts on intricacies who can see bigger pictures. Nor is this a meditative Buddhist retreat — some will have arrived to network and fix deals — but here they are assembled to develop collective wisdom, to listen, and be listened to, in an ordered and multi-cultural respectful setting — the Hotel Habtoor Palace, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
This is beyond the norms of cautious sanitised diplomacy — the words directed to investors and senior board members could well have been (and probably were) targeted at governments everywhere. “Why are so many highly paid people consistently so agonisingly slow to see and respond to the obvious?” Around the world the threads of complex integrated supply-chained networks are demanding that leaders lift their sights from petty politics and open their eyes and minds to big and relevant challenges. Tolerance has been stretched in the onslaught of false assumptions, outmoded ideologies and outright lies by would-be populist leaders and their media minders seeking only to enslave the masses.
As with Climate Action, so it is with the unfathomable fantasies of the full English Brexit — the current crop of governing classes are destined for the early shower. Businesses have no issue with the principle of regulations — these are not laws imposed against some local parish sovereignty but a vital part of investment responses that enable our worlds to function fairly. To suggest otherwise is a calumny. To oppose civilized behaviour — to set tribes against each other — through the ballot box is to lust after ‘democratic dictatorship’ or just thin cover for greed. Most definitely not cricket, old chap.
We’ve had some Springs — from Prague to Arab — and this season has many (more peaceable) facets — the Circular Economists, the Climate Action school-kids, the Intelligent Communities, the Entrepreneurial Statists, the Doughnut Designers — all empowered, enabled, to guide those whose economics education is fossilised in stone-age pre-digital witchcraft. These fresh voices are folk who’ve escaped the legacy of a colonial education system.
Their spirit comes with a mature compassion — they understand the challenges of large-scale management — and brilliant humour. Wry but kindly met observations, as reflected in todays Guardian, of the UK’s ‘Shambles on which the sun never sets’ and “I’m an Indian and I can tell you the Brits take forever to leave”.
So what, if anything, did they achieve? The formal (diplomatically expressed) recommendations urged greater agility and flexibility on members’ boards — understanding more clearly the ‘factors that drive resistance to change and be more persistent in overcoming them’, and, in preparation for their next event, a renewed and determined focus on ‘environment management and climate change’.
I am awake. They are awake. It was not like this before the deep slumber.