Last Friday I had a friendly spat on Twitter with Management Today magazine. Well that’s what Friday afternoons are for aren’t they? The issue that sparked our exchange was a gloomy forecast from advertising giant WPP and MT’s assertion that if WPP was having problems then what hope was there for the rest of us.
I admit I took exception to this. Perhaps the tone grated after another week of working with successful businesses. Perhaps it was the frustration of seeing yet another botched attempt by policymakers to resolve the Eurozone crises. Anyway I wasn’t very happy and I let MT know about it.
Of course it all ended amicably with MT retweeting my tongue in cheek reasons to be cheerful comment about the sun shining, the prospect of an extra hour in bed as a result of the clocks going back and last week’s news of an increased level of investment in the US. And I do understand that in today’s 24 hour online world, media organisations need regular news and angles to hook readers before this morning’s news becomes this afternoon’s web browsing history. But there is a real danger of a double dip recession becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
When asking people at networking events as to how things are going I invariably get a response of “It’s tough out there” coupled with “but we seem to be doing OK”, the latter being seen as a cause for embarrassment rather than a reason for celebration.
The daily flow of conflicting statistics does not help. This week GDP was up 0.5% although some commentators said that this was not actually good news and that the figure will be revised in due course anyway. Within this GDP number construction output fell. Bad news then? Well no, Caterpillar have announced that they are on track for a record year. JCB orders are apparently booming. Somebody out there clearly does think that construction in general is moving in the right direction and are investing accordingly.
It would be naïve of me not to recognise the threat to global economic recovery posed by the problems in the Eurozone. But there are many good things happening too which need to be recognised and highlighted. The majority of businesses in the UK and beyond are getting on with their lives and continuing to do their best to create wealth and jobs.
So there you have it. Two points of view for you to consider. False optimism versus unreasonable pessimism. Not facing up to the facts versus accentuating the negative. Who are the real twits in all of this? It is probably too close to call at present.