After I posted yesterday’s blog singing the praises of connection and collaboration, I realised the topical irony: here we are, about to sever ties with Europe and ‘make Britain great again/take back control of our borders/secure our freedom’ – there are a variety of ways of expressing the general idea of plucky little Britain standing in splendid isolation.
I am desperately sad about this. I’m also cross: I think the Yes campaign was misleading – culpably so – and the margin too narrow to have committed us to this massive decision.* But mainly I’m sad because I feel part of my identity is being take from me and because I think we’ve opted for something smaller and more selfish than what we could be.
‘If you want to go fast, go alone,’ goes the proverb. ‘If you want to go far, go together.’
At corporate level this plays out in the diversity agenda too: it’s harder to recruit and manage a more diverse board, with a mix of men and women, ages, experience, ethnicity and backgrounds, because there’s typically more negotiation and confrontation than is found in a traditional board of middle-aged white blokes who all play golf together, but the pay-off, proven time and time again, is a more effective team and a more successful company. (And, incidentally, a fairer society that provides aspirational role models for our young future leaders.)
So here’s my tiny act of rebellion on the day on which we trigger Article 50 and opt out of Europe and all its complexity and constraints to do things our way: I’m going to look again at my own network and identify the connections that most challenge and stretch me, that take me out of my comfort zone, and work on developing those and creating more of them.
Sitting around with people who look and think and speak and act exactly as I do, however comfortable that is, is not where the really important work is done.
*I get that many will disagree, which is absolutely brilliant, this is the whole point. But this is my blog.