I started writing this month’s notes a couple of weeks back – I had a week off and had some spare time while travelling to start turning my usual random list of collected thoughts into a more coherent article.
But as I was picking that article up again this evening to hit publish, much of the content felt much less important than it did when I wrote those words not that long ago. It feels like a lot has changed in a short period of time.
Last Thursday I had an early start as I drove the three hours from home to the southwest for a family funeral. I spent those three hours in the car listening to Radio 4 and hearing the confusion, uncertainty and disbelief of journalists reporting live from Kyiv on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
I have some very early childhood memories of the Falklands War aged six, but I can remember much more vividly the start of the first Gulf War after the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. I recall listening to a radio late at night in my bedroom as the early stages of aerial warfare began.
This time the proximity of war seems much greater.
Maybe it’s because I’m older and work in the connected world of technology that I know people and businesses directly affected in a way that I didn’t in previous conflicts.
Maybe social media and digital media provides a depth of insight into the brutal reality of war that is more immediate and unfiltered than I’ve seen before.
Maybe as a father this has a greater impact on me than on my younger self.
I don’t know and it doesn’t really matter. What matters is how we respond to this new reality.
Helping those we know or work with directly affected, participating in voluntary organised initiatives and holding our government to account for their actions in this situation feel like tangible things that can be done right now.
Being careful in our actions on social media is important too. Information and disinformation are key in this war – as social media users we need to carefully consider what we say and share online. For professional communicators, the UK’s government’s toolkit on countering disinformation is a helpful resource.
And so to summarise the month of February for me…I spent a lot of time working with colleagues to launch a new employee experience proposition, spent time working to increase leadership effectiveness, did a lot of business and financial planning for the year ahead and had a week away with family and friends…all of which feels quite insignificant given what’s going on 1600 miles to the east.
I found this article helpful in understanding some practical ways that people in the UK can help right now.
Image credit: UP9 – CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6935083