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What the Corporate World can learn from the Celts

When the Celts are described it can often be with a negative connotation. They have been described as barbaric. Barbarian, in itself, leads you to think of uncivilised, wild and warlike. The word Barbarian actually derives from the Greek expression to describe anyone who was non-Greek. In actuality, the Celts were anything but uncivilised. They were advanced, had a vibrant culture and the term Celtic remains a contemporary term whether it relates to sport, language or people. The Celts gave us an awful lot in fact and there is much that companies and the business world in general can learn from them. Here are a few of them.

They were Innovators and technologically advanced

The Celts were master iron workers. They developed wrought iron fabrication techniques that were very advanced for their time. They developed techniques to fasten barrels using iron rings, learning how to contract the iron on the barrels as early as the 6th century BC. They also used this technique on their chariot wheels ensuring their durability over rough terrain. Their weaponry, namely their swords, were crafted to a razor-sharp level and thus extremely effective for their primary use – war.

They had a vibrant culture

The Celts had a very fine and long-lasting culture. So long that it is still vibrant today approximately 2,500 years after they first were recorded as a distinct people. Any organisation that wishes to succeed needs a strong culture and belief system and could learn a lot of the Celts who had a very strong sense of self, identity and their own ways of doing everyday processes.

They believed in Gender Equality

Women had equal status with men in the Celtic society. Women could inherit property, titles etc. For example, Boudica led the Iceni after the death of her husband. She subsequently led the British Celts in their rebellion against the Romans. She very nearly defeated them too (sacking London and Colchester) where a lot of other rebellions against the Roman Empire had been a lot less effective. Many large companies today would be envious of the way the Celts had equality not as a policy but as a simple fact of their daily lives.

They had a strong Governance Model

There was a normal hierarchy in Celtic society as to many other ancient ones with – Kings, Chiefs, nobles, commoners and slaves however their ultimate influencers and arbiters were the Druids. The Druids were exempt from tributes, military service and the normal rules of society but they actually put in place the governance model for the Celtic nations. They also had the power to expel and excommunicate from their society anyone who was deemed to have broken or not adhered to the rules of the society. Any large company needs to have a strong governance model across areas such as IT, risk etc and could learn from the Celts as a result, perhaps not to the same extreme but definitely some of their influence is useful.

They were the internet of their time

The Celts used their technology and vibrant culture to communicate and transfer their influence across Europe from Bohemia to the West of Ireland over the course of a couple of hundred years. The technological advances with respect to wrought iron quickly spread throughout Europe westwards and the carry on effect was Celtic culture, Celtic language and traditions spread too and to such an extent that we still feel them today particularly in Brittany, Wales, Scotland, Cornwall and Ireland.