Adults in the room

Adults in the room

The Boardroom beyond 2021

The Boardroom beyond 2021

The global crisis in our systems of finance, banking, politics and healthcare underscored by the climate shift, presents an ever-present danger. In this state of danger and threat, psychologists have increasingly discussed matters of trauma, anxiety and stress.

On a societal level, this represents a shift toward a ‘regressed’ state, where people are not able to face the full reality of the here and now but instead face the world from a place of earlier trauma from childhood. That is, the adults in the room are operating from a childhood frame of mind. The pressure cooker through which these forces will emerge in the most interesting ways is the boardrooms across all sectors.

Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek Finance Minister in his book, Adults in the Room; my battle with Europe’s Deep Establishment, articulates a position that the crash of 2008 was a result of a liberal blindspot in the bureaucracies of that time, that sought to rescue the banking system. In the USA, the central bank pumped up its insolvent banks via quantitative easing, whilst in Europe the Central Bank faced $200bn debts to bail out the Greek economy. Decisions were taken that again shifted the burden to the taxpayer via a new route, ostensibly pouring more money into the German and French banks.

The World Economic Forum President, Claus Schwab, in his book, Covid-19: The Great Reset, says that we need to prepare for an angrier world. Action will be needed by the systems across the world to ensure that those people who are “left behind” will need to be considered in new ways.

“This is more critical than the 2008 financial crisis” he said in response to questions about the role of government and business in responding to this pandemic. Many industries, health and digital will be strengthened through the crisis, whilst those that require face-to-face interactions and other small businesses will not survive.

The Green economy and the digitalisation of the global order is on the horizon, a potential 4th Industrial Revolution of innovation awaits. However, if we bring together the underlying emotional dynamics in the coming years, we will face a context where leaders need to prepare for angrier populations and workers dealing with trauma, stress and anxiety. The boardrooms will have to develop a new level of competence working with these dynamics, often via remote platforms, where they are not “in the room”.

The Tavistock Institute’s certificated programme, Dynamics @ Board Level, is designed to support learning for the most senior board members, coaches and consultants to work with the new context and to find the capacity to think and not be overwhelmed by the unspoken and sometimes unconscious forces that drive irrationality and destructive behaviour. To be able to remain in the adult position will be a distinct advantage to the boards in the digital era, as we face the fusion of our physical, digital and biological identities.

Learn how to develop and deepen this capacity by joining the Dynamics @ Board Level programme – there is no better programme available that provides such a rich, in-depth understanding of boardroom dynamics and how to manage them. Contact Anabel a.navarro@tavinstitute.org for more details.

To receive news about Dynamics @ Board Level and/or our 3-monthly Newsletter, join our mailing list – you can tailor what information you receive. View our Professional Development Prospectus.

You can read about boardroom dynamics in the recently published book: Dynamics at Boardroom Level: a Tavistock Primer for Leaders, Coaches and Consultants, edited by Leslie B Brissett, Mannie Sher and Tazi Lorraine Smith.  With contributions from previous programme participants: senior leadership practitioners and board evaluators from the government, international consultancy firms, FTSE 100 and global UN institutions, this book speaks directly to issues of our time.

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