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Spreading the upbeat message in business is good for business – by Roger Harrop


I am not an economist but a look at history shows us clearly that nations prosper by trading across their borders.

This has always been true – whether it was the UK in the 19th century, the US, Japan and Germany in the 20th or China and, increasingly, India now.

It may be that nations have abundant and valuable natural resources to trade but, if not, then it has to be goods and services that the world want.

Without wishing to get political I simply cannot believe that more borrowing by Western nations and more spending on internal infrastructure projects can produce the return to GDP growth we all seek.

If nations are to invest at all then it needs to be in helping the wealth producers develop and trade globally. Wealth producing businesses should be massively encouraged and supported through the removal of red tape, investment funding, tax incentives and underwriting some export risk.

Often we see the reverse happening. UK universities, for example, have an envied reputation around the world for excellence and are an important generator of wealth and foreign exchange for the country. But we have the Government making it more difficult for overseas students to come to the UK through new visa controls. If we really do want our nations to thrive once again there should be no sector of society more supported, more revered than the wealth producers.

By the way, I do not believe ownership is important. In the UK, for example, our motor vehicle industry is no longer British owned. What that has meant is that vast amounts of outside finance has been brought in to modernise and develop the industry and as a result it is now prospering globally- whether it is Jaguar Land Rover or Nissan or Ford or Toyota. They are exporting more than ever and contributing massively to the Nation’s GDP.

Now is surely the time for us to be injecting support and confidence into business. Consumer confidence has had one of its biggest upturns according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Global Customer Confidence Index. It is time for our governments and our media to start helping grow the confidence – rather than, doing what they do so often, which is the reverse.

I work with and meet many, many business leaders throughout the UK and Europe and, quite truthfully, the vast majority are doing well and seeing sustained profitable growth.

That is not what most of us would expect to hear from what we see in the media.

I was speaking to a journalist the other day who wanted me to comment on the economy and the state of business but when I shared with him the business success I am seeing and optimism for the future he simply did not want to know. He was preconditioned for bad news – and that was all he wanted to hear.

PLEASE let’s start shouting about all the good stuff that is happening, and have the confidence get behind our vital wealth producing organisations.

© 2012 Roger Harrop Associates

Roger Harrop

Roger Harrop has spent over 25 years leading international businesses, including a plc, which puts him in a unique position to deal with present-day business challenges. Based in Oxford in the UK, he’s an international business growth speaker who inspires and entertains audiences with his acclaimed Staying in the Helicopter® programmes. Over 20,000 CEOs, business leaders and others in 38 countries have achieved transformational change through his thought-provoking, entertaining talks laced with real-life stories and humour. Roger is also an author, business advisor, mentor, consultant and independent director. He has unusually wide leadership experience … from small start-ups to multinationals … and from high-tech products to basic commodities, people-based service businesses and not-for-profit organizations. Roger spent seven years as Group Chief Executive of a FTSE quoted, high-tech industrial group with 12 sites across 4 continents. The UK Government mentioned it in its ‘Competitiveness’ White Paper. The US Forbes magazine included the group among its list of the top 100 overseas companies. Two business schools have used it as a benchmark case study on culture change and business re-engineering. Roger has tutored on a leading leadership and teambuilding programme for over 25 years. He’s a keen windsurfer, mountain biker and classic car enthusiast.

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