Consequences Blog #65 – Combine harvester in the new horizon

In this reflective Consequences Blog the key point I am wanting to write about is how ‘time moves on’ leaving footprints. For example, the Spanish flu and global pandemic played no relevance in our lives (time moves on) – until now (footprint).

I was reminded about this ‘footprint’ legacy through a conversation with a young bride, who when reference was made to a dress being like Princess Diana’s, her response was not about the dress but who was Princess Diana. At first, I found the fact that she was being serious quite strange but then it reminded me of a similar conversation I had as a young bride, as to who was Princess Grace – referred to me by my very British mother!

The point of these reflections and references are not about weddings, princesses nor pandemics but more the point how ‘time moves on’ and leaves ‘footprints. This captures how ‘time moves on’ and what is happening in the now may not be the future but of course the now and its history can change the direction of the future and leave ‘footprints’.

Collaboration plays an important part in the relationship between the now and the future. There is also much importance to consider around collaboration in the post pandemic era – something which I refer to as our ‘next horizon’. I scaffold the next horizon around the need to take a ‘competition detox’ and this is not the first time I have mentioned the need for this detox- see Consequences Blog 50

Along with much of the conventional wisdom around the preparation thoughts for our next horizon recognition is being made between the importance of having massive transformation purposes (MTP)and most importantly doing so within collaborative efforts. Such a statement of collective collaboration places a challenge to the phrase winner takes all.

A great example of the need for collective collaboration can be found in business or everyday life, noting neither are static. Just like the eras of our Princesses, ways of operating and being come and go. The same can be said for competition and collaboration. Competition may have suited previous forms of progress but there is also a point in time for collaboration

I recently came across a metaphor of business which I believe offers a helpful description as to why in this next horizon we are compelled to shift into more of a collaborative than competitive mindset. The metaphor consider business as……“a combine harvester. It sucks in land, capital and people and churns up the world as it goes” (RSA Journal Issue 3 2020)

I quite like the metaphor of the combine harvester as it truly describes the approach to business and life in the 20th century. This is an era where the tag line ‘winner takes all’ was most relevant and this is also why a very important shift is needed to take place. I strongly argue that a ‘winner takes all’ stance is not fit for purpose in the 21st century and especially not for our next horizon.

So just like the recognition of Princess Grace and Princess Diana held places in different eras it makes me question what the better business metaphor for the 21st century may be?

Maybe the question is not so much around changing the metaphor but rather more how we escalate and harness the power to increase collaboration to do good for all.

Sir Richard Attenborough recently described this emergent need with much escalation.

Earlier this year I was drawn to three solutions that Michelle Meagher outlined in her book titled Competition is Killing us (couldn’t say it better myself). Meagher explains these three solutions using three ‘D’ letter words

  1. Disperse

The first solution is on power and the importance of dispersing it. In the world of business this means blocking future mergers that create or support existing monopolies

2. Democratise

Any power that can’t be dispersed must be democraciesed by giving the end user representation at the decision-making level.

3. Dissolve

Any power that resists being dispersed or democraciesed needs to be dissolved

As Meagher summarizes.

The balance of power would be served by constraining the influence of concentrated capital; by empowering the currently disempowered to challenge monopolies and enabling stakeholders to stake a claim in the economy; and by democratizing corporations and sharing the benefits of their power

Reinforcing the phrase ‘it is time for a competition detox’ is my way of embracing the 3 D’s and setting a discipline for all decision making to consider a position of what ‘giving’ looks like rather than the default position of ‘taking’.

Eras come and go, like the shift in eras as mentioned in the Princess example and we won’t always understand the decisions of our ancestors, but we do experience the impact of their decisions and therefore hold a responsibility to be the best ancestors we can be.

The next horizon brings demands for collective collaboration like never before so no time for princess demands rather let’s take heed of Sir Attenborough’s warnings …… if we continue on our current path, we will face collapse of everything that gives us our security

Keen to hear from any fellow anti competition or successful competition detoxes out there!


Consequences –Dr Jayne Meyer Tucker, aka DrJMT is a social engineer and helps humans and organisations make #betterdecisions during uncertainty. Drawing on her global experiences in social transformation and her PhD research exploring the systemic tension between structure (governance) and spontaneity (leadership), Jayne has created the Balance Point – a transformative philosophy to make #betterdecisions within a framework to STRADDLEuncertainty with relationship building and decision-making traits that make #betterdecisions the E.A.S.Y Way. Jayne has worked in Executive Board/CEO and consultancy roles with a number of NGO’s, corporate and government agencies in Australia and internationally.





RSA Journal Issue 3 2020 ‘Winner Takes All’

Meagher, M (2020) Competition is Killing Us Penguin eBooks

Attenborough, R (2021) On Climate and Security Open VTR 23 February 2021

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