And, another year bites the dust!

In business, you are only as good as the next set of figures. You can’t be blasé about the future by looking back fondly on past successes. In this context, business managers are no different from football managers – the next game is what matters.

It’s been a tough couple of years, testing ingenuity, patience, resilience, fortitude, and perseverance. The level of risk as a major factor in business success has never been more acute. Nerves of steel are called for.

It was interesting then to see recently that one eminent businessman (John Barton, former chair of EasyJet and Next, who died this month) said that running a business was straightforward – there are two things to remember, ‘Treat people with respect and don’t worry. If something goes wrong, don’t agonise over it. Just sort it out.’

There, easy isn’t it? I sincerely hope that that mantra helps you to confront the challenging issues you will undoubtedly face in the coming months!

On another note, as we approach Christmas, I have been struck by how many nasty things confronting the world of business begin with a ‘C’. The list starts with Covid, of course, itself with a great big capital ‘C’. Added to that particular one, these other C-word threats will cause problems in the years ahead:

  • China – and its rather malign global influence in all spheres of activity
  • Cryptocurrency – and its potential for criminal misuse
  • Cyber security – we are all exposed to the significant vulnerabilities inherent in the complex digital infrastructures we operate in where we will encounter unscrupulous state and individual players/hackers
  • Climate change issues – this hangs over us all like the sword of Damocles – it is so well documented now but difficult to ameliorate by the well-meaning actions of the developed countries – which brings us back to China!

On a more parochial note maybe, I was also struck to read at the tail end of the year that, according to research by the Chartered Management Institute, there are two million ‘accidental managers’ in the UK – incidentally, I love that phrase ‘accidental manager’ and I should really write a book with that title! The term refers to ‘people who have been put into managerial roles without being properly trained on how to lead and manage teams’, according to Paul Devoy, the CEO of Investors in People.

So, as a final word for 2021 – this means companies should be looking after the continuing professional development of these ‘accidental managers’ through training, coaching, mentoring and support to ensure they perform to the best of their ability.

But, I would say that, wouldn’t I?

Published on Dec 20, 2021 by Neil Thomas