Keep going, keep going

May 05 2008 by Charles Helliwell Print This Article

The acronym "KBO" became synonymous with Sir Winston Churchill, during his so-called 'wilderness years' during the 1930s in which he was cast adrift from government.

It was shortened from his favourite catchphrase at the time, 'Keep Buggering On', which he often used whenever he reached an impasse or setback, during his efforts to influence government policy of the day.

How appropriate, therefore, in the current period of uncertainty, to recall the great man's expression and how it enabled him to master the insecurity of his many 'black dog days' and overcome the adversity of being a cast-out politician, only to return to power and lead Great Britain through one of its greatest periods of hardship to one of its greatest triumphs.

As the credit crunch continues to bite and organisations of all shapes, sizes and denominations pull their belts in even tighter, more and more people are starting to question where it will all end - and whether or not they will be added to the ever-increasing casualty list of disposable assets.

My sense is that this fear is now tangible. You can smell it in the air and see it in the faces of those who cram into trains, tubes and buses on their daily commuter runs.

I'm hearing more and more of the same old questions; should I wait it out or try and do something else, whatever that something else might be? Am I in the right job? Is my job secure? Is my organisation at risk? Do I know the right people? Will they support me when the going gets even tougher? There are so many questions, most of which remain unasked and therefore unanswered.

But adversity is a bit like driving up a steep hill in high gear. At some point, the car will stall and start to roll back down the hill unless you change down to a lower gear and keep the revs up. Note that keeping the revs up is as important as the low gear.

During his period in the wilderness, Churchill resisted his natural inclination to fight his fellow politicians on multiple fronts. Instead, he chose a lower gear and kept his revolutions up. Hence his continual reference to 'KBO'.

In the current climate, I would urge all those who feel uncertain, uncomfortable and wary about what the future has in store, to change down a gear or two and focus their energies on those aspects of their jobs that they are able to influence the most.

Then keep the revs up sufficiently to ensure that whatever else peaks on their journey, they are able to shrug their shoulders and murmur knowingly to themselves, "Oh well, KBO, KBO..."


About The Author

Charles Helliwell
Charles Helliwell

For almost 20 years, Charles Helliwell has been enjoying a lifestyle and making a living as a behavioural and relationship mentor specialising in the personal and professional development of individuals and teams in the workplace.