It’s been some six years since I invented Simon Michael Evans, David Lewis’ personification of the heroes of our economy, those who run SMEs. My intention has been to relate current events to the trials and tribulations of our group and to provide either useful lessons or light relief; and, on a good day, both.
The way to succeed, in my opinion, in any new endeavour, is not to copy what others are doing, but to find a unique way of serving others. So although current convention says that it has been “an honour” and “a privilege” to provide some “thought leadership”, such phrases are studiously avoided by my pen (alright keyboard) and I simply leave it to you to decide if what you have read has been worthwhile.
Some of you have been kind enough to say this is so. Others simply read it and, I guess, add it to the stuff that may come in useful one day. These small affirmations encouraged me to write WealthBeing, either the lowest selling business book with unanimous 5* ratings or “the best kept secret in the business book world”. Either way it’s an account of what I have learned through study and experience of working with many clients over 30 years and is the basis of the business mentoring work I now undertake.
From time to time I have had ideas which I hadn’t heard elsewhere and which could improve the conditions under which we operate. So I was pleased when others also thought that export tax credits are a good idea and regarding your home as an investment isn’t. Does that make me a thought leader?
Leadership is another over-worked word nowadays. As our means of communication spread and become faster and faster we hear so much from so many places that leaders’ voices have been drowned out to some extent. One consequence I perceive is that the battle for air time, headspace or simply just to be heard has created ever more extreme opinions. It seems to me to be the supreme irony that while we face down the barbaric threat to our civil liberties that is ISL, we are doing some of their job for them. No longer is the mob content with a not guilty verdict (maybe they never were),now you don’t have to have done anything wrong to face an attack – it’s sufficient, for example, to be married to someone accused of wrongdoing, as Katarina Frostenson (member of the Nobel Prize for literature committee) can attest.
While I don’t condone bad behaviour (who does?), I wonder if it’s time to change the mantra from ‘Brexit means Brexit’ to ‘innocent means innocent’? And what has happened to apologies? Are they worthless? Is no-one allowed to make a mistake? Must miscreants be thrown out of our society? When we exclude people maybe we lose something of ourselves – the essential quality of forgiveness which is a necessary part of being human.
As The Archers (great barometer of the memes of to-day) tells, bad publicity tars all associated with the wrongdoing whether or not they were part of it. Sponsors remove themselves because to be seen alongside someone who has been accused is just not done.
The entrepreneur in me wonders if there is now an opportunity to create Excluded Ltd, a co-operative for all those people who have been accused and are therefore excluded by those who haven’t been (yet?). I suggest that Brian Aldridge, recently forced out of his own farming business and having stepped down from chair of Borsetshire Land, be its chair. He may well be found guilty of contaminating land and pay a fine as a consequence. It was a bad thing but so was his affair, which resulted in the birth of Rory whom his wife adopted (after Rory’s mother died).
I suspect that it would be a sober gathering, ex-alcoholics, reformed drug abusers and other “chance takers” who discovered that their actions had consequences they hoped would not occur. The fact that they did will make them pause a little longer faced with another risk. But unless we allow risks we won’t create wealth and without accepting negative consequences of those risks we will destroy the tolerance that is at the heart of a free society.