Peter Johnson & PiM

Insights Discovery & Deeper Discovery Licensed Practitioners

The colour of life

When the world changed due to the lockdown, and when social distancing became the new normal, the very basic things of our usual life became so much more difficult. Indeed, if they were allowed or possible.

Government warnings. Statistics that summarise the sad impact of the pandemic. Face masks, sanitiser, furlough, R, all becoming part of the vocabulary we have become accustomed to. Being told to wash our hands for at least 20 seconds. Not to go out unless absolutely necessary. Stay at home. Only to go out and shop for essentials, and then as infrequently as possible. Stay alert. And many more statements.

The roads quiet, the streets all but deserted, few people to be seen. The laughter of children no longer heard outside.

As always in a democracy, the vast majority hear the message and adhere to what has been requested - understanding the message, they take stock and ‘do the right thing’. Are they happy, mostly not, but they see the bigger picture, the impact if we do not do the right thing, playing safe, knowing that in the grand scale of things this is something that will pass. Sacrificing the short term transitory pleasure for self, for the longer term bigger goal for all.

A small minority at one end of the spectrum are brash and wont do what is being requested by any government, and their neutral advisors. A small minority at the other end of the scale, equally selfish, thinking they are above being told what to do and have the arrogance to think it does not apply to them. Sadly we have seen both.

Parts of the media see this as a wonderful opportunity to raise their profile, scare people with ever more negative tirades on people. Stir the vat of pain juice to make it more bitter. Let their mouths write cheques that they have no ability or personal intent on cashing. Hindsight is an amazing gift.

As Field Marshall Helmuth Graf von Molitke, the Prussian military strategist said: “No battle survives first contact with the enemy.”

For sure there have been may things which could have been done better, faster, differently, and it is with out doubt that there will be reviews and inquiries and much more undertaken in the weeks, months and years ahead. Some of crucial value, some a mere distracting public expense. All with hindsight.

But let us not overlook all the vast number of noble people working so hard, so long, so caringly to keep our society ticking over. Whilst others are paying attention, and acting as requested, to support those who are on the front line; or at least avoiding becoming another statistic that will keep the caring profession too busy, for too long.

Plus those who may not be working on the front line, supporting us; and others doing worthwhile work in businesses that will generate tax to pay for the public services that so many have come to expect.

A conversation with our older generation makes one realise what they had to go without during the Second World War and before. (What most of us are going through is a mere piece of grit in our shoe by comparison.) And indeed after the war.…before there was a National Health Service, and before there was a benefits system - both now taken for granted, expected.

These are some of the thoughts that crossed my mind on a short trip to pick up groceries that an enterprising, and very helpful farm shop had boxed up.

You can see the wonderful selection of fruit and vegetables, and amazing, almost artistic array of fantastic colours. Looking at the selection there are quite a few items that would not have been in the average shopping basket many years after the war!

Driving back I reflected on my earlier thoughts, and considered the rich variety of colours in my car boot.

One of the wonders of the free world is the ability to voice opinion, ask questions of those in power, state opposing views, even challenge. Let us not forget that for many people in many countries around the world this just is not possible. Stop! take a moment to savour our freedom.

It is this rich mixture of colour, in the Insights Discovery palette, that helps teams and organisation become a better version of themselves. It is this rich conversation with opposing views and opinions that help form better outcomes. I hope in your organisation you make the opportunity to do this. For the record - most organisations don't, so if you think you may be one do get in touch, I may  be able to help.

But, and this is a big BUT, in the insights Discovery colour palette Red (as in Fiery Red) is often outspoken, fast to state opinion, opinionated, fearless in challenging - too often at the expense of not hearing the quieter well thought voices that are intimidated into silence. Their valuable contribution so often lost, or disrespectfully...even arrogantly ignored, for ever.

One can hope that all voices are allowed to be heard, their opinion valued, even if different. Through the listening, the considered facts, varying opinion, erratically creative comment, a better answer is always co-created.

Let us not forget the basic premise of health, when one is advised to eat a mixture of colours, as in the box from this farm shop.

Now do you add a lot of colour, of all hues, into your decsion making process?

Now that would be progress!

My best wishes,