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Do crises throughout the ages follow specific patterns? If so, why, what are they, and what can we learn from them....

"When the ship's going down do you want to be a lighthouse or a lifeboat?"
James Hillman

I came across this quote at the beginning of lockdown, while attempting to marshal my own understanding of what we were heading towards and what it might mean for us all personally & professionally.

As individuals, teams, companies, practices do we want to be lighthouses or a lifeboats? Do we need to be either? Does it really even matter in the face of a pandemic that is demonstrably changing everything on a daily basis?

I had no idea, obviously, but the quote initiated an enquiry which ultimately led me to the (virtual) door of Dan Jones, bestselling Historian and Broadcaster. I wanted to know about other crises in history and how we might learn from them in order to turn the camera back on ourselves, our leadership, our craft, our careers.

Boylett's Through The Crisis - Dan Jones

Effectively, I was looking for Dan’s intellect to throw me a metaphorical rubber-ring onto which I might cling, before passing it on to a number of my clients that I was worried about; hopefully in so doing, we might all emerge from the eye of this particular storm calmer, wiser and better-equipped to face the challenges that lay before us.


My collaboration with Dan has resulted in a new workshop that draws on historical precedent, to help define a future that makes the most of opportunities, while being realistic about the inevitable constraints that come with fast moving and changing times.

Does this workshop contain all of the answers to the COVID19 problem? Of course it doesn’t. But what it does contain is some genuinely insightful thought leadership from Dan, within a framework anchored on my 23 years’ experience in learning & development.

We dig into one particular ‘case-study’ of a crisis, and mine that for learning and inspiration. It is a chance to share ideas and reflections with colleagues in the context of an innovative and compelling, historical, training framework; hopefully emerging at the end of 90 minutes in a more positive frame of mind and with a few more ideas for future proofing than we had at the outset.

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