I have a particular time when I write this article. It’s currently 6.15am and I am travelling for the next couple of hours. I suppose I could always read something, but this is much more fun. It also makes the time pass quicker. And at the end of it, I have created something. A good start to the day.
I try to plan the content in advance, and I had a couple of options ready for today, but hearing the radio this morning as I set out, I heard that Liz Truss had described Nicola Sturgeon as an attention seeker and someone to be ignored. You may well agree but that is not the point here and I am definitely not going to get into the politics of this situation. I actually quite liked Liz Truss but I am not a card carrying member of the conservative party so would not have a vote anyway. If I had, who would I vote for? Sunak or Truss? On the whole and bearing in mind what I heard this morning, I think I would vote for Boris. Love him or hate him, he was always entertaining.
Anyway, the point I wanted to make was that if you intend to have a genuine dialogue with someone, to co-operate and produce outcomes that benefit others, would you insult the other person? In the context of Sturgeon and Truss, I will leave you to decide what you think.
Wherever you work, you inevitably interact with people who you might not want to interact with on a personal level. I know that there are people out there who are quick with their opinions of others, but especially if you are in business, likability is only a small part of being who we are. Trust and competence are far more important. I personally meet and do business with a large number of people. If I went around miscalling them, what would that do to our relationships? Our world is actually quite a small place, and you soon get to hear what people are saying. If you are in business, you develop a thick skin but it is difficult to trust someone who you know is miscalling you behind your back.
I suppose the extension to this is whether you would go that extra mile, put in that extra bit of effort to get work done and do business with someone if that level of trust is just not there. I am who I am, and you are who you are, but as long as we trust one another, we can do business. I have no interest in making unnecessary comments about you or attributing motives to anything you might say or do. While trust exists between us, we can work together, accepting that from time to time each of us makes mistakes or even says something stupid, but trust does not care. We know we have each other’s interests at heart and if we mess up we will get it sorted. We can speak honestly and frankly but trust binds our relationship.
So, if it comes to a meeting between the leader of the current UK government and the leader of the current Scottish government, will they now be able to work for the benefit of all of the people of the United Kingdom? My view, for what it is worth, is that this is going to be difficult. If I miscall you in public, are you going to want to have a meaningful dialogue with me? I doubt it.
It does occur to me that Liz Truss is an accountant. I would have thought this was an advantage but she was a management accountant so I can draw a distinction. Maybe her people skills are not as finely honed as those of an accountant in practice. Surely, we are the epitome of tact and diplomacy. You may not agree and you may feel that, based on the accountants that you know, an accountant should not be allowed to run a country. Whatever your views on this, you may be right.
Is Liz Truss moving towards or away from her goals with a comment like this? We would need to know her goals so we are in the dark on this one. It will be interesting to see how the individuals in this spat now react. It will say a lot about them and which one, if either, can we trust.
This week I am in Kirkwall, Thurso briefly, Inverness and Elgin. I have a number of meetings arranged including Tim Williamson, who will be resupplying me with Moray Honey, Ewan Macfarlane to discuss finance options currently available for our clients, and on Thursday I have a meeting with Abbie McCahill from Adder Business, who look after our website and social media, Ben Hosie from SFG Software who aim to be the “go to” IT support company in the Highlands and Catriona Macdonald, who supplies DOJO card machines with no long restrictive contract terms so worth a look. These are all people that we know, like and trust and so would be happy doing business.
By the way, Catriona Macdonald tells me that she really does cover the whole of the North of Scotland. As you know we have a soft spot for anyone who puts in that little bit more effort to get out to the islands. She will be at the County Show in Kirkwall later this month. Anyone prepared to put in that sort of effort must be worth a chat. Look out for her at the show. She has a stand!
So, who will you be doing business with this week that you know, like and trust? Have a tactful and diplomatic day!
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Alan E Long
The Long Partnership