The Best time to be in Business – Part 2!

From: Roger

Okay I’ve got to do it.
I’m fed up with all the negativity we seem to be seeing everywhere in the media these days – I guess it’s always been the case but somehow it seems even worse now. The glass is always seen as half empty.
As you may know I travel the world I talk to and spend time with many business leaders running all kinds of sizes of business across just about every sector and I am not, generally, seeing negativity from them.
Let’s start with Brexit. I did not vote for Brexit but more people in the UK voted for it than for anything, ever, in the history of our democracy so we have to make it work.
Firstly let’s have a look at some of the facts – it’s always better to base decisions in business on fact rather than myth, comment and opinion:
  • “UK Manufacturing growth hits 2½ year high” – Purchasing Managers Index
  • “UK firms continue to hire and concerns rise over shortage of candidates” – International Business Times
  • “Britain ended the year as the strongest of the world’s advanced economies” – Bank of England
  • “Fastest UK services growth in 17 months” – Purchasing Managers Index
  • “UK car sales at record high in 2016” – The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
  • “UK car production hits 17 year high”– The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
  • “UK unemployment in further fall “– BBC
  • “Job optimism at 3 year high” – Manpower survey
  • “FTSE 100 index at all time record high”
I don’t remember seeing a set of figures that good for a very long time!
Also, one positive I am seeing is a number of companies who were, maybe, a little comfortable, a little complacent perhaps, who have ‘woken up’ as a result of the Brexit vote and are re-examining their businesses and their strategy for the future – which can only be healthy.
So – Let’s just get on with it!
Of course there is similar media-induced negativity elsewhere too.
I recently ran a one-day Masterclass for KPMG Greece in Athens to about 120 business leaders and others.
The most frequently used word there seems to be “the Crisis” – it’s all the media and the politicians talk about apparently.

The Parthenon from the Conference Room
So much so that I had to ban its use from the Q&As!
In Greece there are all kinds of opportunities for business just like there are all around the world. I told my audience the same as I tell everyone that I truly believe this is the best time for business ever because it’s almost nothing to do with what you did in the past, or where you are based, it’s all about your focus for the future and that there are many, many opportunities out there – no matter where you are.
There are new markets arriving all the time and there is new technology coming at eye-watering speeds which businesses of any size, in any sector, can use to help differentiate themselves from the competition,  improve their operational efficiency or in some other way help their business success.
There has never been a time like it.
I said to my audience in Greece that I had just come back from Pakistan, and that I had recently spoken in Ethiopia and in both countries, I’m sure we would all agree, the problems facing CEOs are much larger than anything we see anywhere in Europe or in the West. Nevertheless, in both countries, I find business leaders that are positive, sparky, and with a can-do attitude – to not only to make their businesses successful but to help make their country successful.
In these countries they are jumping generations of technology and doing amazing things – because, let’s face it, if you have broadband you can be anywhere in the world and be successful. For example Lahore in Pakistan has become a centre of app development for the world and there is much talk about “Silicon Safari” – a group of software engineers in Nairobi that are doing amazing things.
With all the negativity in the media  it must be our responsibility as CEOs, business leaders, trustees, and Boards to develop and embed in our organisations a “can-do” attitude and a focus on all the remarkable possibilities there are out there for us and our people.
It is surely incumbent upon us, also, to communicate more frequently and better with our people otherwise all they are seeing and hearing is the media negativity and “nonsense” about how bad things are.
A plea from me – please, from today, communicate more, better and in more detail with every single one of your people about the positives of what’s going on in your business, the positives in the market, and your optimism for the future.
They deserve to hear that from you!
I’ve just run a workshop for the top team of a former Client of mine Maritime Developments based in Aberdeen. Their business is the design, construction, sale and hire of “Back Deck Systems” installed on ships working in oil fields and used for the laying down and positioning of pipework on the sea bed.
That team could easily have been extremely negative – with the massive drop in the  oil price and consequent pull back on oil field investment.  They could very easily have been “glass half empty” and in a mode of buttoning down the hatches.
What I found was quite the reverse they’re doing well.
They are being fleet of foot to address the new needs of the marketplace rather than those of the past and they’re chasing opportunities, they’re finding new ways of doing things and they’ve opened operations in USA and the Far East and are remarkably positive about the future.
I ran my “WIN! How to succeed in the new game of business” Masterclass for them and by the end they were all keen to get back and action many of the opportunities I’d been talking about as soon as possible..
A lesson to us all.
A Client of mine that I’ve mentioned here before is a West Midlands so-called “Metal Basher” – the type of business the politicians or the media would have us believe doesn’t exist anymore! Hadley Group.
They manufacture in three factories in Smethwick and are growing rapidly. They are the largest cold rolled steel manufacturer in Europe, and now have subsidiaries in Dubai, Germany, Holland, Thailand and the USA. They are investing, and are backing themselves on their outstanding abilities to continue their stellar growth.
There are opportunities for all of us out there!
So what’s in store for me in 2017?
Well the wonderful “Friends of Executive” in Sweden have honoured me by inviting me to join their Advisory Board and we are also, this year, setting up our first small Mastermind group which is going to meet four times in the year and I’ll run a half-day workshop at each.
I’m very excited to get started!
'WIN - how to succeed in the new game of business' book intro
‘WIN! – how to succeed in the new game of business’
I haven’t worked in India now for a few years and again I’m excited
to be back in Mumbai in early April to run my one-day:
I expect to be working with a group of the usual fabulous, can
do, Indian business leaders.
That Masterclass, as you may know, complements my latest book:
I’m also, of course, Chairman of the remarkable Cosatto with our mission to:
 “Save the World from Boring Baby Stuff”  and we expect 2017 to be a very good year.
Watch this space!
I hope you enjoy this newsletter and find it useful.
Thankyou for your support!
Roger Harrop
PS. This is a great piece by my friend and guru Gihan Perera on how you can to get  your business fit for the future.