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Borromean Rings

During a recent design session with our geekily cool technology partners

Submarine, Don and Alex talked through the prototype of our GOVindicia™

model on screen.

It was incredibly exciting to see the 3 entwined circles come to

life and whirl into existence. And at this moment of joy, I was struck with a distant

memory of a rock and roll past.

My flashback assisted no doubt by the fact that Don and Alex look like "f£*king


I had seen these rings before, as one of the four symbols used by Led

Zeppelin on their untitled Led Zeppelin 4 album. A quick search on Google

revealed my memory was correct (worth highlighting due to its rareness these

days!) each band member chose a symbol to represent themselves for the album.

The Borromean Rings was selected by Led Zep’s drummer John Bonham. The

circles represent the interconnectedness of father, mother and child.

The name "Borromean rings" comes from their use in the coat of arms of the

aristocratic Borromeo family in Northern Italy. The link itself is much older and

has appeared in the form of the Valknut, three linked equilateral triangles with

parallel sides on Norse image stones dating back to the 7th century. The rings

have been used in many contexts to represent strength in unity. And if De La Soul

taught us anything, it is that 3 is the magic number.

But, these rings require closer inspection. Because if you look carefully, you’ll

notice that it’s an optical illusion. Borromean Rings consist of three circles which

are linked but where removing any one ring leaves the other two unconnected. In

other words, no two of the three rings are linked with each other, but nonetheless

all three are linked. And this has strong ties to what binds organisations together.

Organisations are not simply groups of people doing random their very definition organisations are organised groups. The organisation of organisations is called governance. GOVindicia™ compartmentalises governance as culture, decision-making and implementation. The stronger these three areas overlap the better the organisation operates. Remove one and the other two fall apart.

That is exactly what happens with corporate governance catastrophes. You see massive failure in only one area and the entire business collapses with devastating effects on markets, shareholders and short, society.

I’m pleased to see more and more businesses realising the importance of good governance and making strides to implement awareness, education and measuring in this area.

If you want fantastically performing businesses you need fantastically performing

humans, and if you want that, you need to create environments where humans

can flourish, be safe and be part of creating something larger than themselves.

Experience GOVindicia™ yourself in 4.3.21.

Visit our website -


This blog was written by John Hibbs. John is on the Advisory Board of Perrin Carey Limited and has two decades of experience in leadership positions. We are very grateful for John's contribution to our work and the collaborative partnerships we are building across the business community in Guernsey and around the world.

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