Friday, 12 April 2013


Recently I was asked to open the new Management School at Keele University following the refurbishment of the Darwin Building. Prior to saying a few words to the attendees as a group, I got involved in some conversations about business confidence and the difficulties facing small businesses in making investment decisions when their confidence is fragile. The tone of our discussions reflected the prevailing mood of austerity in the general economy and a sense that many businesses feel compelled to postpone expansionary decisions until the clouds shift. We also spoke of the downside risks of getting the timing wrong and how that can further sap confidence. I was reminded that confidence is the glue that binds so many of our actions as individuals and as businesses. Further evidence that confidence is the thing appeared on my TV screen last night when I watched David Lynn from Trentham golf club, here in Stoke, being interviewd on Sky TV following his sensational round on the first day of the Masters in Augusta. He just personified a quiet, relaxed confidence. The sheer scale of his achievement was overshadowed by the ease with which he got the job done. Of course being a true pro he'd no doubt say that there are still 3 more days to go before the job is done but my point remains; a sense of confidence makes things happen. And the opposite is true too,  absence of confidence allows doubt and fear to prevail . The recently published Financial Services Survey by CBI / PWC on Industry Sentiment  declares that "fresh growth is reported across a range of sectors and customer segments.Rising profitability and an increase in employment reinforce the impression of greater confidence". Lets hope the glue is sufficiently adhesive to bring forward some of those key decisions on business investment.         

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