Once more unto to the breach

You would have wondered the same: “What does Shakespeare have to do with an executive leadership programme?” It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and life-changing learning experiences. These thoughts came to my mind as me and my colleagues were finishing The Diwan’s Royal Court’s National Leadership and Competitiveness Programme, delivered by Oxford University’s Said Business School.

One of the last sessions in this programme was on personal leadership. Today, the main message from this session resonates very well giving what we are all witnessing everyday socially, economically, and politically. This session’s resourceful facilitator chose King Henry’s words in Shakespeare’s play that say: “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead” (Henry V, act 3, scene 1, lines 1 to 5).

I firmly believe that there’s no impact more powerful a leader can share with his team than leading by example in inspiring resilience, just like King Henry V inspired his army to keep going until they win, or sacrifice their lives trying.

Investing in social resilience

We are exhausted, and rightly so. We survived a global pandemic where we lost loved ones may their souls rest in peace, and had to be confined to limited interactions and spaces for almost two years. We also had to voluntarily go through one of the harshest punishments in history- ostracise ourselves from feeling that physical togetherness heals families and communities in tense times.

Therefore, I believe this is absolutely the perfect time for a deliberate social togetherness initiative where we meet, socialise, hug and kiss each other in a way that reminds us that we are one community and one body. The consequences of not doing so could be passing up on a social resilience opportunity, where we and future generations start to forget the value of how human touch can heal pandemic wounds.

Investing in economic resilience

Because we had to restrict cross-border movement of people, goods and services the global supply chain was disrupted for two years, and is still recovering to this day. Corporates and governments chose to pass the cost of this global supply chain disruption to us as average consumer where we are still going through pandemic disruption in our incomes, housing, food, fuel and other living costs.

We are hardly realising that the rising cost of living is starting to outpace human innovations that normally help us adapt with new situations. There is a great opportunity to close this gap between economic disruptions and innovations by investing in programmes, such upgrade to turn graduations projects into startups, that accelerate innovations in health and meditation, using advanced manufacturing in housing, organic food, and circular economy in general.

Investing in political resilience

Winter is coming, and with it an immense pressure on global energy security and climate change solutions, which historically tend to bring instability. Nations endowed with natural resources and geostrategic locations tend to be focus of the attention of superpowers that deplete their resources in an endless pursuit of perceived “greatness” via imposing themselves on others, via despicable means such as neo-colonialism.

Giving the current increasing demand for energy and the relative stability in our region it is inevitable that our natural resources, including people, land, air and waters will be much sought after by the world’s superpowers.

Political resilience implies that our nations must invest in deliberate political resilience programmes that bring people together in a sustainable way that guarantees a just and prosperous present and future for all of us.


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