The Elephant in the Middle of Brexit

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind

-Mahatma Gandhi

In a world built upon little confidence and even less trust outside your own POV, company, community or country the chances for collaboration, much less cooperation and even mere calm communication are slim to none.

To have made the EU work from the get-go required a level of sustained trust and confidence that an increasingly zero sum game, pedal to the medal, hooked on adrenaline, ROI driven world with transactional myopia was and is becoming even less capable of.

Like many of you I can get off on all the testosterone flowing between CNN and FoxNews which are very reflective of the outside world where many claim that it makes for a healthy, lively and constructive discussion and debate. However, such discussion and debate are more reminiscent of divorcing parents arguing over what’s in the best interest of the kids, even while the kids are reacting to such bullshit by acting out, using drugs, underachieving, etc.

The elephant in the room is that we can’t solve a transformational problem with transactional solutions.

So what do we need to do differently to find that transformational solution?

It’s really quite simple, but is unlikely because people love the adrenaline rush and dopamine surge when in full battle (that’s certainly much more exciting than having to listen to a spouse who tells you that you don’t understand their feelings).

First, we need to identify a clear, specific and grand vision of success that Americans (and the world beyond) will all largely agree to eight years from now, such that a successful and effective administration might have two terms to pull it off.

What made the Moon shot of the Apollo missions so doable is that a vision was articulated that was so specific (” landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth”), had such a clear (“before the decade is out”) deadline and was so grand (“Hey there, cowboy aerospace engineers… wanna live out an HG Wells saga and have something you’ll be able to tell your grandchildren, and fellow nursing home residents when you’re old and have shot your load?”) that the people tasked with making it happen were able to let go of more personal and selfish agendas.

Next our leader(s), their fellow leaders and all of their advisers need to come up with a strategy to make that Moon shot a reality. The key to a successful strategy is that it gains “buy in” and a commitment to executing it from all stakeholders. To do that, the strategy needs to:

  1. make sense – appear to be a rational strategy to all the people that rely on their reasoning to accept and commit to anything
  2. feel right – feels fair and sound and not overly offensive to any stakeholders
  3. be doable – is something that the people tasked with executing it are capable of

Finally, we need to agree on and commit to a code of conduct to get us there, where every faction will give up some of what they want so that we as a society will get more of what we need or to follow the Rolling Stones advice: “We can’t always get what we want, But if we try sometimes we might find, We get what we need.”

Another word for such a code is “values.” Values are not what you espouse or say you believe. Values are how you conduct yourself in your day-to-day activities and especially in a crisis when everyone from “chicken littles” to demagogues are likely to be an annoying distraction with all their yelling.

Instead of so much of the world’s anger and fear being fanned into a collection and cacophony of Howard Beales’ (Peter Finch’s character from Network) screaming out, “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it any more,” maybe we need a Mark Zuckerberg type to connect the masses of the world to say, “Hey we’re more alike than we are different and we are more alike than we are like our leaders who aren’t representing us, but only listening to the beat of the drums of their own personal ambitions.

Let’s connect and organically granulate in and grow a future that serves us best and oust those above us who have been absolutely corrupted by power and have caused an absence and the abscess at the core of leadership in the world.”

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