The Pattern not the person

Friday, July 8th, 2022

Change the pattern not the person. That’s what’s on my mind today, as Boris resigns.

I hear cheers of relief and I get why. I value integrity and there hasn’t been enough of it.

I value loyalty too and boldness, and I empathise with the ministers who have been trying to walk a line between these values.

Living our values is never easy, especially when they seem to pull us in different directions.

But changing leader isn’t enough to fix a systemic problem.We need to change the pattern not the person. Break up with someone, fine, but if you don’t change the pattern you just recreate it in a new relationship.

The same holds here.

I would never work in a workplace where people shout and jeer and boo in “debates”. How is that aspirational? It’s antiquated. It’s outdated. And it doesn’t enable what we most need – deep listening, sincere exploration of complex issues, integrating different points of view. Nor would I work in a system where women are so under-represented. Where breastfeeding is banned.

Change the leader, fine. But don’t pretend that’s job done. The brokenness of the system goes far beyond Boris.

Fix the culture. The behaviours. The systems that stop people being able to make meaningful change.

I will cheer when I see evidence of shifting mindsets, from competitiveness (winning the argument) to service. When I see a parliamentary culture that embodies respect and listening.

Are we one step closer? Maybe. Saying “no” to what no longer works is a good first step. But let’s remember it’s a long path ahead, and that real change will require courage and integrity for each step, big and small.

We coach leaders to navigate change with confidence and calm.

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