Monday, 29 September 2008

Another straw blowing in the wind

(A further Jeremiad. Sorry!)

It’s only a few days short now of four years since I retired as Director and Chief Executive of the Foundation for Conductive Education but my name still comes up on dusty data bases and I get the sort of letter that people who hold positions like that do get. This is nothing of course to do specifically with Conductive Education; it’s like being invited to join the Institute of Directors.

I received a pleasant invitation by email this morning from the Chairman of a body that describes itself, with justification for all that I know, as ‘the world’s leading organisation for Chief Executives’. Here are some extracts…

Dear Andrew Sutton,

How to Succeed in a Down Turn Economy

As the economy becomes increasingly volatile, how can Managing Directors, CEOs [Chief Executive Officers] and owner-managers succeed in uncertain and difficult conditions?

…we understand the concerns that business leaders have about the current credit crunch and economic uncertainty – that is why we are offering seminars to give top tips to help you through this difficult time.

I am delighted to invite you to join a small group of local business leaders for a private breakfast meeting to learn how to Succeed in a Down Turn Economy. There are tactics to turn these difficult conditions into opportunities and well led companies can emerge from these times leaner, more savvy, customer-focused and more successful. Come along and hear the tips and how you can implement them and out-perform your competition in hard times.

The email notified me of two upcoming venues, both rather posh in a businessman kind of way.
These events would be free but it was hoped that I might then care to join some sort of international organisation…

…dedicated to increasing the effectiveness and enhancing the lives of business leaders. Its purpose is to help leaders realise their full potential and to outperform not only their competitors but also their own historic results. Independent data shows that our members grow their sales revenues more than twice as quickly after joining than they did before.

Pensioners do not ‘historically’ turn down a free breakfast (this one doesn’t, anyway) but I think that I would have little to offer (other than needed advice on proper hyphenation) and amongst the shining, positive people portrayed on accompanying photographs I would have soon been rumbled. I won’t therefore be going. Shame, it might have been a good breakfast, fit to last the whole day!

Sauve qui peut

Interesting, however, to see the tone of the note, and to remember the meaning of the language used. ‘Leaner, more savvy, customer-focused and more successful’ means smaller, more tightly managed, but still holding on and still in business whatever it takes (and the devil take the hindmost).

My invitation continued:

These events are by personal invitation only and places are strictly limited to Managing Directors and Chief Executives of businesses. We would appreciate your prompt response to ensure you secure your place.

There's nothing like the offer for a free meal to fill a hall, at whatever level of society, and never more so when free meal tickets might be already in short supply and may soon dry up altogether. I’m sure therefore that there will be a full house at both events – and at similar gatherings around the country and around the world. I hope that all the people involved get what they hope for and what they deserve.

Why mention any of this? Because I found it another reminder of the storm that is coming. People are beginning to put up the shutters, batten down the hatches, and huddle together for warmth and protection in the rising wind. ‘Managing directors, CEOs and owner-managers’, are looking anxiously to each other to see how their own kind might survive.

How will Conductive Education ride out the storm that is coming?

I think of the final three-and-a-half minute sequence in the first Terminator film:


Sarah Connor was heading south. It has already been suggested that maybe it will be in the South (using development terminology), in the East and in the BRICs, that Conductive Education's greatest promise lies:

Sutton, A. (2008) A short history of the conductive world, Conductive World, 11 January



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