February this year had an extra day. A slightly longer month. The sun is back in the right part of the heavens to account for the reality that the earth takes slightly more than a year to go precisely one circuit around the sun. A small change, well signposted, that keeps everything aligned.
This February has been unique. The UK is in its first month of being back outside the EU. A country that is in a transition period that creates a phoney sense of leaving but not have left, of being outside but staying dry. A new variant of a respiratory virus, COVID19 is spreading rapidly around the world. It is leaving in its wake deaths, travel bans, self-isolation. Impacting thousands of events that bring people together in the entertainment, sport and business worlds. Stock markets fell sharply as the economic risks became clear, and American interest rates were cut deeply to mitigate those risks. These are things that disturb the status quo, the natural order of life, they disrupt and force change.
Both of them are examples of things that are beyond any one business’s control, each of us has a choice; we can be enervated, or energised by the decisions we take now. Every risk is also an opportunity. I hope that COVID 19 will prove to be more like a winter flu virus and that as we develop a natural herd immunity the spread starts slowing down soon, and I hope that we will soon have greater clarity on how Brexit will develop. In the wake of February just gone, businesses that take the right actions now will transform into the future and will not only perform better today but be better prepared for next time, which inevitably will come. As the changes to our business world develop those that are skilled in taking good decisions will be better placed than those who learn, too late, that their markets no longer work in the old, familiar, profitable ways for them.