Chris writes: “Yesterday I met London Mayor Boris Johnson, at the opening of my alma mater’s London outpost*. By chance I’d also followed him into the building, and heard him mumbling to himself and his assistants on the way up.
“So it’s Warwick. Warwick? City of London. Best building, global city. Finance students. Global students. Warwick in City. Merchant of Venice? No. King Henry! Parts I, II, and III. Shakespeare. Warwick the kingmaker. King, business leader. Warwick makes kings. New teaching campus makes business kings.”
I realised the mumbling was his method of planning. In those few moments on the escalator, he’d applied his vast intellect to the event at which he was guest of honour … and developed a complete communications strategy in the time it took to travel one floor. (And that included shedding his bike gear.)
His speech, opening Warwick Business School’s Shard campus with WBS Dean Mark Taylor, contained the same points. Comparing the Warwick of the past – whose earl in an earl’ier age could make or break kingships – to the Warwick University of the present, wielding power in business.
How did he plan such a masterful speech in seconds? He looked for connections.
Drawing on his own well-rounded education – Boris is a Classicist, with a feel for the warp and woof of ideas across history – he’d teased out some touchpoints that connected across time, and slotted them together into a speech that made a visceral deep sense to any educated mind.
Segmenting and dividing may win battles, but unifying wins wars.
And perhaps it’s why many of the more enlightened business leaders read Plato and Aristotle in addition to Drucker and Porter. (Including, I understand, Drucker and Porter themselves.) They’re looking for unifying concepts, not divisive splits. (Perhaps MBAs should include a Classics module on the Great Conversation of Western thought. Or – indeed – Eastern thought.)
So don’t let the loveable buffoon act fool you. Boris is the smartest politician in Britain, a hard-nosed supreme intellect leavened with just the right measure of whimsical humour. Let’s all be more like Boris.
For the rest of Chris’s article, click on this link.