Roddy Graham's Blog: 3 October 2008 - Planning ahead
03 October 2008
Roddy Graham is chairman of the ICFM and commercial director of Leasedrive Velo
The late Paul Newman came out with some wonderful quotes during his lifetime. One seems quite apposite in these current turbulent times. "From the beginning, our management philosophy was, 'If we ever have a plan, we're through'."
It seems almost a waste of time to read newspaper reports on the current crisis as articles are overtaken by events. If you actually watched the FTSE100, performance on an hourly basis you would swiftly be driven to depressive paranoia so what chance has a five-year business plan got?
I have never ever believed in planning more than one year ahead as events are sure to make a major dent in original assumptions. Today, we can hardly plan three months ahead but plan we nevertheless have to do. But what we have to be mindful of is that nothing is carved in stone. We have to be flexible in an ever faster changing world. Mental as well as physical yoga is the order of the day.
It would appear that Prime Minister Gordon Brown is taking the latest turmoil in the financial markets seriously by appointing a 'Cobra' style response team to quickly react to any significant change in events, much as the Government already has in place to deal with acts of terrorism.
Hot foot off the presses comes news of another cabinet reshuffle.
Geoff Hoon, former chief whip, is made transport secretary to replace Ruth Kelly who resigned the day after the Prime Minister's address to the Labour Conference for "family" reasons. Strange that she claimed that she did not mean to steal his thunder!
Geoff Hoon had the look of a rabbit caught in the headlights during the second Iraq conflict when he was secretary of state for defence between 1999 and 2005. Seen as probably more of a heavyweight transport secretary than those of late, with the probable exception both figuratively and literally of John 'Two Jags' Prescott let's hope he can bring some much needed cohesion to his challenging task for an integrated transport policy.
Meanwhile, Peter Mandelson returns to the Cabinet as business secretary to strengthen the team tasked with the watching brief on the global financial turmoil. With his EU trade commissioner experience, let's hope it's third time lucky and there are no more skeletons in the cupboard.
While it's difficult to plan too far ahead these days, if at all, it seems our PM is determined to give it his best shot and bring his Treasury experience to the fore. Former transport secretary Alistair Darling still has a lot to learn as Chancellor. If not myself, as I'm not a Gordon Brown fan, the markets should appear happier with steadier hands at the helm in these stormy waters.