A tree branch bent too far will break. It has some flexibility, but when pushed beyond that it will damage irreparably.
Our British view of democracy and governance has been bent increasingly out of shape by the constant drive for closer union in the EU and its unwieldy bureaucracy.
The Conservative party has been bent out of shape by the strong differences of opinions about the EU.
Whatever your view about Brexit, it is impossible to avoid the observation that anything bent too far out of shape for too long will eventually break.
And the leadership lessons from this?
If something needs to change, seek to shift opinions with real sensible facts and inclusive discussions – not marketing hype. Go in listening and caring for the people involved rather than imposing your opinions. The aim must be to enable people to shift their own perspective, not to bend them out of shape.
It takes longer, it takes lots more effort and patience, but the final result will be stronger, more resilient and less likely to break.