The above does seem to be a question which is being asked more and more by so many business leaders.
Can one actually trust what is being reported anymore?
Business leaders are reporting a better than expected January and with far more positive outlooks than was expected in Q4 of 2022. Many braced themselves for a tough start to the year but have been reassured by trading and the belief of a shallow recession with signs of a recovery coming sooner than expected.
However, the question does linger as to whether there is today a bigger than ever disconnect between the media, the world of politics and business?
One CEO last week noted: “ I am not sure I understand the dynamics anymore. I tell my board to ignore the news reports and only trust what they see in their trading reports. Our performance on a weekly basis will tell us what is really going on.
Where I struggle is that we came close to making deeper cuts than was necessary last year based on some of the forecasts. We didn’t because our own reports were giving us different data but one can understand that some have made cuts which will have been more harmful than was needed. “
No one is suggesting that the worst is over; there is clearly a long way to go with many challenges to be faced but there are many leaders seeking less hype and a calmer approach to reporting.
Even the CBI in December noted that the economy was only forecast to retract by 0.4% in 2023 but would grow again in 2024 by 1.6%. The most recent data even suggests that performance may be better and global reports do show a striking similiarity in the issues being faced all across the world by developed countries.
The problem is, of course, highlighted as businesses are facing a more complex landscape and need to get their own decisions correct.
Another Industry leader noted: “ I do read all the hype but business is business and if we just focus on what we do, the rest will take care of itself. Decision making is probably 20% harder than it was in 2019 as we have faced a series of unprecedented global challenges, which have underscored the need to think more carefully about how businesses adapt to the changing geopolitical and economic environment. We have to rely on our data rather than media reports which are designed to get clicks and readership – but that is how it should be. No?”
Another noted; “For me, teams are anxious about the economy, taking care of their families, and the cost of living crisis. The news hypes it and our job is to calm it down. My view is that need to create a culture to enable them to do their best work through challenging times. We must be willing to adapt and listen.
Strangely enough the negative hype has helped us come closer together as a team. We feel stronger as we are working together so I am less concerned by it but yes, it is an added pressure.”