Gradually it all tumbled out…
Directionless leadership (check), loss of mojo (check), loss of purpose (check), the feeling that things used to be better (check).
Was it just him, he asked?
(No, it isn’t just him. Many coaching sessions surface this sort of mood and morale level at the moment.)
We talked about the sorts of policy initiatives that the Board might think about. It was the loss of story and purpose that seemed to be most important. The theme of a lost ‘golden age’ for the business seemed to be gnawing away at morale.
Then, spookily, the conversation took a sort of mini- manifesto turn.
The next day I looked for some real-life manifesto material to season, in a light-hearted way, the next session. Might it not be helpful to look for examples of how to write a new story, how to re-energise and re-invigorate with new ideas? To look to what might be possible, rather than become trapped in the ‘lost golden age’ narrative?
In the absence of any completed hot-off-the-press-real-life manifestos in the second week in May, I began to look a bit further back in history.
An example of a complete and devilish understanding of the very thing that had
concerned me. A beautiful example of how to cynically employ a ‘lost golden age story’ to support happiness and purpose surfaced.
The Monster Raving Loony Party published a manifesto in 1997 that included the setting up of a new Government Department:
‘ THE MINISTRY OF NOSTALGIA
We will remind people of how good things used to be. Since no one can now remember a time when things were good, we all need help to dream of a wonderful by-gone age when everyone was paid in golden sovereigns, no-one was ill or died, the weather was perfect, and you could get 200 pints of bitter for a quid.
Monster Raving Loony Party 1997 ‘
It must have happened.
And, alas, it’s working.