Coming Crisis

I recently learnt  that the Chinese symbol for “crisis” is represented by the two Sino-characters for “danger” and “opportunity”. Is that why I have heard such contrasting views from two highly respected business leaders this week?

In October, as part of the ILF I heard Duncan Bannatyne almost preach that “now is the time to start a new business”. Yet the following day at Leeds Business School I heard David Scott present an overview of our debt crisis and share his view that “Europe may be on the brink of a 10 year depression”.

It was David who explained about the Chinese symbol for crisis.  It gives us a neat way to hold the seemingly mutually exclusive statements and conflicting tensions we often experience.

The crisis of loneliness suffered by many of our elderly has been in the news again. I visited my wonderful 92 year old uncle Michael in a remote part of County Cork. On my last day with him we sat on the wall he had meticulously built and he complained that he missed working. “Doing things and work make you happy”. It was not about financial reward but the basic dignity and purpose work gives us.

Whether we decide to start a new business and/or we enter a depression there are clearly major challenges ahead. However, I think our greatest challenge will be to act inclusively so that as many people as possible have the opportunity to work, to contribute and to feel valued.