It is summer here in Adelaide, Australia. Today the weather is warm but not oppressive. Lying here on my sun lounger the cares of the passing week are a million miles away. It is at these times I tend to muse on the problems and challenges of the world and in particular how we operate in today’s global environment. So after over thirty years operating as an international corporate troubles-shooter here’s my take on the state of play.
I pose the question “Who would be a business owner?"
The perception exists that a small to medium business owner’s life is full of milk and honey, with only rewards coming their way. In today’s environment nothing could be further from the truth. Using the words of Tom Cruise in the movie Jerry McGuire, “Up at dawn, a pride swallowing siege”*. In a constant challenge to keep a keep ahead of the pack in terms of the market, maintaining cash flow, regulatory issues and the big Cohuna – managing people - where does he or she turn to receive some succour? – other people!
Alternatively I pose another question? “Who would be a Manager?"
His or her lot is just as difficult, dealing with ever increasing targets, introducing new technology, minimising costs, and maximising time. Finding ways to understand the thinking and motives of their bosses. Keeping up-to-date with OH&S and workplace issues, and probably their toughest challenge – managing people. Where does he or she find support, the refrain is the same, in the company of other people!
And finally but not least “Who would be an employee?"
Well one does not have to dig very deep to find the answers; family and social change pressures, the threat of being laid off due to recession, And whilst keeping abreast of skills needed to compete in a highly competitive market or maintaining a level head with the management of their emotions during times of stress in their work and private life, one seeks out people!
So what is the answer?
In a famous song that diva Shirley Bassey sang (goodness I am showing my age) “People, people who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”**
So there you have it, the solution is staring us in the face. People need people and when they do communicate problems seem to be lessened. Maybe the lessons of the past few years will encourage us to return to a situation where people matter and the incessant need for material wealth is tempered. Although I am indeed an optimist I believe we have come too far down the road to turn back and only the drive and passion of individuals in their own way can show us there is an alternative to how we live and treat fellow human beings.
This is our challenge!
*Jerry McGuire movie written by Cameron Crowe.
**People sung by Shirley Bassey written by Coyne, Kevin/Ward, Robert.