Thanks to Dr. Sue Black, campaigner for Bletchley Park, social networking supremo, and Collaborative Strategies Network activist (www.tocollaborate.org), I have been encouraged to write my own blog from time to time. I write many reports, papers and articles, usually for or on behalf of other organizations – most of my stuff is captured on www.journalisted.com/lucianhudson. This is a space where I can share a more personal perspective.
A bit of biog: both my parents were born in Poland and came to the UK after the Second World War. They made Britain their home, and though they have now both passed away, I know that they would have pleased by how my brother and I have made this country our own, however much we enjoy travelling and getting to know other places. The UK is a great country, and nobody should ever forget it. The 21st century will be about power, but it will also be increasingly about influence, and influencing for good. The self-serving will ultimately perish, and no institution or organization can prop them up forever. Humanity always triumphs, even in the darkest hour. Strength without wisdom and compassion turns to dust.
I grew up with my younger brother in North London – he supports Arsenal, I support Spurs- and we lived in Paris. I was educated at Oxford, where I met my wife, Margaret. Since 1983, I have had three careers: first, in television; then, the civil service; and more recently, as a business consultant, specialising in strategy, communications, advocacy, mediation and collaboration. I enjoy helping organizations achieve more impact and influence. “Building bridges” and “connecting” is a big theme running through my work. I believe that people can connect at many more levels than they give themselves – or are given- credit for. This makes me neither an optimist nor a pessimist. I am curious about people and things, and try things out and explore where they go. Because of my family’s past, I feel this great need to achieve, yet have learnt that although hard work, assertion and determination have their place, there is no substitute for trust and working with the flow.
Collaboration is a very rich idea for me: it is through making different combinations work that we unleash the hidden potential in situations and systems, and in ourselves (the international report I wrote for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office was dedicated to this theme, “The Enabling State: Collaborating for Success” http://www.cstoneglobal.com/enablingstate). Collaboration wrongly is often seen as just focusing on common ground: to be truly effective, we need to embrace, accept or work through differences. This means active listening, and really being centred on what emerges through any genuine interaction. Enabling collaboration is about liberating human potential, not just creating and delivering value. Yes, we need to achieve results, yet often it is about achieving lasting results which people own and want to see properly sustained (this is in good part the vision of Ghanem Nuseibeh, Founder of Cornerstone Global Associates www.cstoneglobal.com). My experience has shown me that at the outset, we need to bring out individual needs, interests, concerns and expectections before we start exploring options and finding solutions. I like business disciplines, provided they are combined with a deeper purpose of what life and society are about. Learning is something we all have in common, so anything that creates the space and time to learn – and taps people’s deeper potential- I support. The web is ideally placed to generate communities of learning.
Judaism is my chosen faith, especially Liberal Judaism, because it is – in principle and often in practice- so open and inclusive. The mystical side of the big religions have so much more in common than organised religion often allows for. And I have probably more in common with many non-believers than some believers. For me, Liberal Judaism tries to get right the balance between seeing onself as part of a specific, particular tradition, and evolving according to universal values (www.liberaljudaism.org). The past, present and future come together in a single moment – that’s why I can be a bit of the romantic. I want to engage with those who agree and disagree, from a position of trust, respect and empathy. Engagement between Israel and its Diaspora has never been more critical.
We can all get too serious. Humour and humanity are inseparable. That’s why I value a readiness to enjoy the world as we find it, even though so much needs repairing! Everybody is potentially an ally, if not a friend. But I take things in steps, and won’t be rushed or coerced. I am easy-going most of the time, but watch out for a stubborn and most tenacious streak. My interests include listening to music, appreciating art, and reading, as well as swimming, rugby and boxing. My wife and I would love to retire one day by the sea. I have a business partner who is based in Sydney, beautiful climate, sea etc: now he’s got it right.