Crisis Leadership - Winston Churchill
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Crisis Leadership - Winston Churchill

Use Symbolic Modelling to better understand how you can perform at peak and inspire others during a crisis
5.0 (2 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
75 students enrolled
Created by Peter Urey
Last updated 6/2015
Current price: $12 Original price: $20 Discount: 40% off
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What Will I Learn?
  • Embrace the truism that the people you lead in a crisis are less interested in what you say and more concerned with how you make them feel
  • Develop your own metaphor as a shorthand for your personal leadership style
  • Recognise your own personal leadership style at the emotional level
  • Spot at the gut level where your leadership can improve
  • Develop leadership skills by transforming the metaphors you use to describe your leadership
  • Transform yourself from the inside to the outside
  • Spot repeating patterns and learn where they come from
  • Benchmark your performance against Churchill's
  • Get an introduction to the transformative power of Symbolic Modelling
  • Use symbolic language to communicate and inspire
  • Learn about the events amd psychology of the life of Sir Winston Churchill
  • Recognise the repeating patterns in your thinking and behaviour
  • Appreciate that crisis leadership is about being comfortable with ambiguity
View Curriculum
  • Know how to use the Send a Message feature in Udemy
  • Keep a note pad on hand to capture your thoughts
  • Sketch out with graphic symbols your own inner psychocative landscape

This course is for people giving serious thought to improving their leadership style and especially their crisis leadership. Only you will know how crisis affects you and where change is required. We use a new technique called Symbolic Modelling, devised by James Lawley and Penny Tompkins, to help you model the mind of the greatest exemplar of crisis leadership - Sir Winston Churchill.

Specific scenarios from Churchill's life are illustrated with public domain footage from the period, his speeches and quotes from his books. You are asked to consider your emotional reactions to the events and to reflect upon them at the symbolic or metaphorical level. A key question in this exercise is "And all that's like what?"

A fundamental principle of Symbolic Modelling is that you already possess all the inner resources you need to self correct your thinking and behaviour. All you need is to have your attention drawn to aspects of your thought landscape and to muse relectively on the dynamics of your mind.

Once you are comfortable with your symbolic relationship with crisis leadership, we help you to spot repeating patterns and think about improved outcomes by asking "What would you like to have happen?"The course demands a lot of deep contemplation. Once the process starts change will take place at a subtle level and in unpredictable ways. Be ready to capture any of the effects of change. We are always on hand to provide support. The course content lasts over an hour but the impact and our interest supporting you does not end with the course but lasts for the duration until you can sense recognisable improvement to the point of transformation.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is for people giving serious though to their leadership style and especially their way of operating in a crisis
  • It helps to have leadership experience but it's not vital
Compare to Other Leadership Courses
Curriculum For This Course
22 Lectures
Objectives of Symbolic Modelling and Course Overview
5 Lectures 17:56

Here we introduce the technique which we call Symbolic Modelling by James Lawley and Penny Tompkins and which provides an introduction in future courses to Caitlin Walker's Systemic Modelling TM.

The objective is for you to improve your leadership skills by exploring the way you think and feel about the real crisis leadership scenarios in Churchill's life and to project yourself into those situations to gauge how you would handle them.

The governing principle is to reflect or muse on crisis leadership as it transpired in Churchill's life and to ask you to think of metaphors to represent your thoughts and feelings.

These metaphors are a great shorthand for your approach to similar situations and become the basic starting point for you to transform your ability to cope well in a crisis. As you move from answering the question "That was like what?" and move to "What would you like to have happen? the metaphor will transform and work backwards into your actions in real leadership situations.

Some people use the metaphor of the British Bulldog as their shorthand way of describing Churchill's leadership. What metaphor would you like people to have for your style of leading people?

Preview 01:53

We will take you into what Churchill called the film script of his life. We will ask you to consider your emotional or symbolic responses to the scenarios which he faced. We encourage you to develop a metaphor for the way you think and feel about it.

We ask in every case, what would it be like and what would you like to have happen if you were there or if a similar situation faces your leadership.

You can decide if what Churchill did was the way you would have handled things.

Could you transform your behaviour if it was required of you?

Preview 02:07

Throughout the course we examine your response to repeating themes.

These themes can not be treated chronologically as they present to some extent in every event we consider.

However the course assumes that these are the major issues and dilemmas in crisis leadership.

Instinct versus Intellect - especially when in conflict with expert advisers
Managing the flows of information as propaganda and to maintain morale
Handling criticism in particular when you have been proven wrong
Attitude to authority and the conventions of social practice
Moral choices versus Strategic Imperatives
Brutal self awareness
Understanding repeating patterns of behaviour and the capability to transform
Forming a strategic vision and knowing when to change course or persevere
Communication to inspire in the darkest hours of crisis
Interpersonal skills and reading character
Team building - trust versus ruthlessness
Micromanagement versus Business Process Improvement
Overcoming personal insecurities
Addiction to crisis

Legacy - how you will be remembered for the choices you made day by day during the crisis period

Preview 05:39

Churchill's life, which he described as if he were an actor in a film, was more like 5 films.

His early life was a psychological drama or documentary about the affects of the classic Victorian aristocratic upbringing. Churchill was not affectionately close to either of his parents and formed idealised visions of them. We suggest that repeating patterns in his career can be traced to these years.

His early adult years are a blistering swashbuckling action hero film with a cavalry charge, visits to war zones, an ambush, imprisonment, an escape and return home to his political career as a national hero.

The early years of his political campaign are a social commentary on class and radical reform in the Edwardian era. We see Churchill battling injustice for the working man in order to preserve the Imperial order for which he was flag bearer. He survives in spite of his fiery and block headed temperament in these years.

Falling out of political favour lead to the Wilderness Years, a rite of passage drama, in which Churchill consolidates his world view which does not conform with popular opinion. He develops a strategic vision and messianic belief in his Destiny.

The War Years are the greatest military block buster of all time.

The Post War years are a reflection on realpolitik and a dystopian vision of the Nuclear Age and a final assessment of the meaning of life in the manner of a French film noir.

We elect to remain at the broad sweeps level and only occasionally work at the level of specific dates and times.

We are interested in the Big Picture.

The Big Sweeps of Churchill's career as film genres
Churchill at the Admiralty
5 Lectures 14:31

Our first scenario see Churchill behaving in ways which might surprise those who only know him from the heroic war years. He adopts an approach to the initial stages of the naval war which prove to be unsuccessful. We see several of the key theme in play simultaneously - instinct v intellect, addiction to action and low awareness of repeating patterns being prominent.

However, all that being said, we will each respond to events in our own way. Where one person senses pigheadedness another might sense a valiant effort to raise public morale.

At few points in the life of a crisis leader is it easy to form a unanimous judgement about the correct choice of action.

Crisis leaders must be comfortable with high levels of uncertainty and ambiguity.

Preview 04:51

Symbols and metaphors are the interface between the conscious and the unconscious mind.

Real transformation has to take place in the sub-conscious before it can manifest in outer reality. Hence, the importance of relating to events atthe emotional and figurative level first.

Imagine that an aspect of the scenario reminds you of pages in a book. At the conscious level they are just that and no more but at the symbolic level they have a different identity altogether and can change shape and move across space and time in limitless ways.

Once you get the symbolic perspective on an aspect of your leadership the transformation process begins inevitablty and in spite of your conscious mental processes.

Transformation through Reflection on Symbols

We are faced with a dilemma when we consider how Churchill responded to the failure of his convoy strategy. He sacked his main critic and misinformed the Nation. Was he measuring the need to maintain morale or protecting his own reputation?

Was he constitutionally incapable of resisting the urge to race into fixing the problem to prove that actions were being taken or was he verging on the reckless?

Do you recognise this conflict in your own approach to crisis?

Does the thrill of activity blind you to a more considered response or do you tend to procrastinate and avoid doing anything at all.

The scenario contains most of the elements of the key themes we previously identified.

Churchill's response to criticism of his strategy and leadership

Here we see the implications of the less robust aspects of Churchill's leadership style prior to 1940.

Judged purely on results this can't be rated as a high point of his career. Nonetheless, the situation is far from crystal clear which is what makes it so fascinating as the subject of reflection.

There are many factors to be considered and it is this complexity which makes a definitive assessment impossible. The point is that that crisis leadership is massively ambiguous and it's hard to get into the mind of another person as if you were with them at that moment.

Helicoptering above the scene gives you the chance to enage with it more comfortably rather than being awash with the emotions which were in play at the time.

Norway was a fiasco but not fatal. Churchill learned from it and because he remained true to himself and his underlying principles his reputation was not fatally undermined.....but it was close.

Norwegian Meddling and Chaos

One of the most difficult decisions in Churchill's career was the destruction of the captured French Fleet which in Nazi hands would have threatened Allied shipping.

Projection into the scenario is emotionally draining. Even today historians struggle with the moral issues which were faced in those moments.

The decision required a ruthless determination to carry out strategy in the full face of the certainty that blameless men and women who shared the cause would perish.

At at a strategic level this action sent a message to the world that the UK meant business. Some argue that this event was designed to help focus US attention on the War. US participation was the cornerstone of CHurchill's strategy.

For you the question is not to judge the scuttling but to reflect on your own mental processes in instances where moral and strategic imperatives collide.

Scuttling the French Fleet - Morality v Strategy
Formative Years and Repeating Patterns of Motivation
2 Lectures 09:28

Churchill's reflection on his early life are brimming with magnificent symbols. Once again what they mean and how you respond to them is unique to you.

It seems hard to imagine that the absense of his parents could not have affected his developing psyche.

His relationship with his distant ancestors was arguably as close at that with is parents and that must have had an impact on the way he realted to the World.

BY musing on the genesis of repeating patterns in his life based n childhood events you may get a better appreciation of the way the formative experiences of your life ripple through your leadership today - for better or worse.

The Formative Early Years

Here we model a Symbolic Lanscape. The elements are laid out and shown to realte to each other. There may be more components and they may interact in far more exotic ways than we have suggested.

The important thing is that you grasp the concept that in the Symbolic world, as for Alice in Wonderland, the landscape is fluid and can morph at will. Time and space obey a different logic.

We have used a simple illustration here, less to tell you about Churchill and more to open up your own access to the symbolic figures which populate your own psychoactive inner reality.

This is where your self awareness and capacity to transform can move into a new dimension.

Symbolic Modelling of the Early Years
Pre-War Political Life and The Wilderness Years
2 Lectures 11:35

This period in Churchill's life is easy to overlook in comparison with the heroic feats to come, but from a leadrship perspective it throws up many lessons.

Do you give yourself time to delve dep into your core beliefs and priciples?
Do you research the texts and background facts beneath your core values?
Can you sit with yourself and observe from the sidelines when you are not called on to handle a crisis?

These were not wasted years and the learning which emerged from them were not immediately apparent. Churchill approached the early months of the war in a combative mood. He had also in this period read widely across the vast sweeps of histoy and recognised how he must transform in order to vanquish Hitler.

The Wilderness Years

In the Pre-War years we see Churchill's response to his unusual upbringing played out without any restraint.

This Churchill was, in my view, a danger to himself and it's a miracle of Destiny that he survived at all. Few leaders had his breadth of experience before coming to high office. He had killed men in battle, fought in the Caribbean, Afghanistan, India, France and South Africa. He had been in a Cavalry Charge, an ambush and a daring escape.

Have your early career experiences prepared you for crisis leadership?

How would you sum up at the symbolic level your readiness to handle leadership in moments of extreme stress?

Pre - War Political Life
The Road to War Time Leadership Greatness
6 Lectures 26:58

Finally the heroic war time leader emerges.

Now we hear the inspirational voice calling the Empire to Arms.

Despite his early catastrophic failures he emerges with undiminshed confidence in his ability to fight a war in which all the odds are stacked against him.

This is the perfect moment to scan your own feelings about taking the helm in the heart of a crisis and to assess how well you can and where change might be required.

In this phase Churchill lays down a symbolic leadership identity which has come to define the art of handling crisis.

What picture would you like others to perceive of you as you rise to the chalenge?

Seizing the Day after the Norwegian Fiasco

Listen closely to the language which Churchill uses and count what you belive to be the symbols, metapors and similes. This speech bears comparison with the great Shakespearen soliloqies.

Imagine yourself pacing your office floor searching for the imagery to inspire in your crisis?

How easy do you find it to let go and acces the inner symbolic realms from which creative genius flows?

Fight them on the beaches

This episode to the perfect counterpoint to the Norwegian fiasco.

Churchill now transforms his style and instaed of meddling he cuts through to the key issues and intervenes wit precision to get the job done. He is prescient in appointing other leaders who can helicopter above a scene to see the Big Picture and then swoop in pefectly to align the elements of the scene for maximum effectiveness?

Do you still meddle or can you move up to the next level of process engineer with strategic oversight?

What does leadership of this type feel like to you?

Meddler to Master Manager

As with the Scuttling of the Fleet we see the leadership challenge of morality versus strategic imperative.

History will record that Churchill rid the world of Tyranny and restored Liberty and Democracy. The price was high on all sides and we should never forget that Fire Bombing was knowingly a device which could not and was never intended to be controlled.

We might describe this as the capacity to "unleash the Dogs of War and Cry Chaos."
Could you make that call?
The process of modelling these situations is emotionally draining. Do not extend yourself too far.

Bombing Berlin

Are you paying adequtae attention to the effects which your style and presence are having on others during a crisis?

What feelings do you think you'd like others to embody as the effect of your leadership?

Have you asked people what symbolic associations that make with your modus operandi?

Brand Management

This period i more closely documented than any other. It's hard to dissociate from the medai symbolism of those times. However, here we take a perspective on the criticism which Churchill faced and ask you to consider how you would cope in the same circumstances. Don't forget the monumental decisions which he had already taken and the stakes at risk.

Would you have been able to have faced your critics face to face in Parliament and have reamined both calm and able to inspire the Commons to back you despite not yet having produced real results?

Try to visualise yourself at the despatch box getting ready to reply to the motion of censure?

Conduct of the War
Post War and Legacy
1 Lecture 03:14

The Allies had won the war but the world had become a significantly less safe place to exist. All British efforts left the Empire in ruins. A New World Order emerged and Britain had a diminshed role to play in it.

The public rejected Churchill at the next General Election yet despite all that he fought on.

Is the fighting spirit, so vital in a crisis, an addiction which prevents an orderly withdrawal into normal life?

Once you have had the thrill of crisis can you relax back into the regularity of daily life or do you itch to find the next crisis?

In the end, what lessons can you learn about yourself and the meaning of your life after reflecting on "All of That?"

Post War Settlement
And all of that was like what?
1 Lecture 05:22

A final recap of the repeating patterns and themes in crisis leadership.

Instinct versus Intellect - especially when in conflict with expert advisers
Managing the flows of information as propaganda and to maintain morale
Handling criticism in particular when you have been proven wrong
Attitude to authority and the conventions of social practice
Moral choices versus Strategic Imperatives
Brutal self awareness
Understanding repeating patterns of behaviour and the capability to transform
Forming a strategic vision and knowing when to change course or persevere
Communication to inspire in the darkest hours of crisis
Interpersonal skills and reading character
Team building - trust versus ruthlessness
Micromanagement versus Business Process Improvement
Overcoming personal insecurities
Addiction to crisis

Legacy - how you will be remembered for the choices you made day by day during the crisis period

Can you detect the areas where you might need to transorm the symbolic approach which you currently take to these subjects and manifest altered behaviours in your daily operations?

If you would like to explore the Symbolic Modelling of any aspect of your leadership please Send a Message and we will let you know more about the process.

Thank you for taking this course and Good Luck in your next crisis.

Summary of the Symbolic Modelling
About the Instructor
Peter Urey
3.7 Average rating
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11,343 Students
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About Peter Urey.
Trained to advanced level in personal coaching techniques including Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling, Hoshin Planning, Business NLP and HP's Leadership Development Programme.
Experienced coach for Hewlett Packard, Symantec, Canon, Epson plus many more.
Educated in Law at University of Oxford.
Aged 56, married 29 years, 3 adult children.
Student of Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling under Marian Way, author of Clean Approaches for Coaches.
Black Belt in Karate.

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