So, I am at the beginning of writing my second book. I feel a small excitement, because I have been planning this project for over a year, and have made the commitment to begin. I am also feeling dread, or fear, or a sense perhaps of the size of the task I am undertaking — because I have done this twice before and I know what it involves. I have written a business book and a screenplay, and both times it took me about two years to complete.
This time I want to be finished in a couple of months. To achieve that I am going have to learn to work differently.
The way I am going to achieve that is by letting go. Letting go of my fear of how much work it’s going to be. Letting go of my fears of failure and, perhaps, success. ‘Playing’ with the process instead.
Most of all I know I need to let go of trying to make it ‘perfect’: I shall write the book I want to write and I shall make it fun. It will be the lean, concise, focused book that I know is needed. It won’t please all of the people all of the time (after all, what can?). But it will contain the few key tools that will make the most difference to the most people in the shortest time.
I know this book is needed, for at least three reasons. On the one hand, at the individual level, people all over the world are living through unprecedented change. To come through this well (which I believe we can) we all need two things:
- First, we need to manage our emotions, to get clear, steady and energised.
- Second, we need to learn new ways to plan and direct our projects, ways that are designed for a context of constant change.
Then secondly, at the organisational level, businesses and other institutions need leaders and managers like that: people who can manage the emotions arising in and around them, and who can plan and implement solutions for the scope of their responsibilities. Indeed the whole organisation needs to manage its emotions: to get clear, steady, and energised. And the whole organisation needs to learn to plan and direct itself, in ways that are specifically designed for a context of constant change.
It will then be the people who put that into practice — it’s the people who build the business. So the business must build the people, so that they can fulfil their roles.
Finally, at the global level, it is becoming increasingly clear that the ways we have been doing things for generations are no longer working. This article by “a proud and unapologetic capitalist, a 0.01%er” (Nick Hanauer) warns “the pitchforks are coming.” He says the solution is “middle-out economics.” Alternatively, this article by international security journalist and academic Nafeez Ahmed, says the solution is open source everything, which we might call “bottom up”.
Whichever solution works (and I suspect we will need both, with other approaches too) it is clear that to achieve it we need thousands if not millions of leaders who can make the required changes happen. People who can manage their emotions, get themselves and those around them clear, steady and energised. And then develop and implement plans to ‘get stuff done’ in ways that are explicitly designed for an era of constant change.
The Churning exists to fulfil both these needs (practical and emotional), for the individual, the organisation, and the whole.
Its aim is to provide you as a leader with the tools you need to rapidly and reliably:
- Get from a state of feeling stressed and uncertain about whatever change you are going through, to a clear vision and enthusiasm for what it is you want instead (and how).
- Create a clear understanding of the trends and forces that affect your ‘project’ (the scope of your responsibility), what that means, and what you are going to do about it.
- Provide processes and tools for continuously improving your competence, proficiency and skill in both these areas.
By combining both practical and emotional tools in this way, my intention is to create a new set of leaders and organisations, who are not only resilient in the face of whatever ongoing shocks we will face, but who in the words of Nassim Nicholas Taleb have become ‘antifragile‘: who know how to use the apparent stress to learn about their world and not only survive but also become stronger, both as individuals and organisations.
And if we can achieve that then we will not so much ‘change the world’ as allow the world to lead itself to where it wants to be.