2014 seems to have made us expert at believing the UK’s economic position is now somehow OK? Yet its not true:


  1. UK plc continues to trade to the detriment of us as creditors: with the £100bn deficit forecast for 2015.
  2. Bank lending practice continues to make the rich richer
  3. Our Youth are becoming poorer and isolated.
  4. The public sector abdication of pensions will eventually kill a lot of good businesses: you can see the rumbles even at JLR.
  5. Retirees are hoarding a far larger % of UK wealth
  6. emerging roles are at far lower wages and more uncertain

The common response is hoarding wealth, greed and looking after no.1: thereby ruining the short term of many good businesses.

Who is looking after the big picture?  What are the corrective actions:

  1. realigning fiscal policy: a UK interest rise would be akin to a trapeze artist jumping about recklessly without a net below.
  2. The Chinese in due course will uproot our European technology “leaders” when they choose to sell their own products in Europe.  Fanatical violence seems to be fueled by a lack of humility in foreign policy.

Despite all of this many businesses are thriving.   I remain passionate and I am not in the slightest despondent.  Motivation, diversity and engagement have become the buzzword with this backdrop but the reality is floundering leadership, an ethical void, a purposelessness and employee anxiety.

Since the 70s as Ken Costa (Former Chair of Lazard International) says the UK obsession can be characterised in 1 word: MORE. 2014 seems to have added to MORE a softening of courage and integrity to realise and face the emergent truths. Whilst agility is a healthy: the good times from 1997-2014 seem to have undermined a leaders ability to recognise or foresee problems.  Unsurprisingly economic recovery is measured by growth (MORE): no surprise; just the catch is: MORE fuelled by MORE UK debt.  Is there any wonder trust in institutions is damaged and Youth disengaged?

With the banks retirement from business support: costly sources of asset based business funding have grown, got greedier and remain unregulated. Wonga have taken advantage of the poor & CEO’s seem to be greedily land grabbing revenue even when it brings £0 profit.  What do banks now do for businesses?  Have banks behaviours really changed?  Man continues to create MORE only to consume MORE and those who love money will always want even MORE: & never be satisfied.

My conscience muscles have been stretched in the roles I have taken in 2014: I got involved in a construction business as MD 12 months too late after the owner had miss-resourced his succession and underestimated the future challenge; leading tragically close to an immediate collapse.  The Midlands micro-finance business I chair and now part own is going from strength to strength. It has real meaning: a fantastic opportunity to make a difference and go some way to close the wealth gap by sustain ably creating entrepreneurship in some deprived communities that really need help. The business and commercial model is now proven and aligned with the new FCA regulation and we are raising funds to grow. If you are interested in discussing this let me know.

The recruitment industry continues to be focused upon finding “”>more of the same” in order to be seen to create value for their clients.  Icebreaker have not managed to significantly raise the awareness and crack this human flaw to avoid this myopic resourcing trap.  A skills gap?  No surely this is a sanity or courage gap: MORE of the same won’t fix the problem.

How can a focus on self reliance be prudent when the UK challenge has become insurmountable: few are even made aware of the facts, let alone have the courage or ability to address the challenge?

I have created the video attached to articulate an unshakeable source of hope, and how we can make a difference.   The very best managers have the humility to say when they can’t cope. That said when was the last time you heard “I can’t cope” in a board meeting: the normal response the individual being fired?  Yet humility is the greatest leadership characteristic.

Thank goodness man can live for every more because of Christmas.  Lets be thankful that our unshakeable God is with us.
Warm regards


Tom Pickering ( FIET )
& CEO Icebreaker Executive