We have started the new year with trepidation: the Euro is still in a calamitous state, the government's cost cuts are taking longer to enact than they envisaged and there is an increasing likelihood of industrial action from the public sector.
I have the privilege of meeting companies on a daily basis, from small start ups to FTSE 100 members, who are in need of talented interim management. The overall mood is an intense feeling of caution and restraint which pervades decision making and leads to inactivity. But to me, inactivity in these times and the mantra of "We can knuckle down and slowly grow our way out of trouble" is doomed to failure.
Rising prices of materials and increased labour costs, with potentially falling margins and revenues, means that doing nothing is not the answer. It will lead to loss of market share and inevitably a burning platform requiring more drastic and costly action. But is it all doom for 2012? I think not.
Good companies will always survive as they adapt and respond to the challenges of this market. This is our lot for many years to come. But with sound leadership, clear direction and above all stringent control of cost base, 2012 is an opportunity - it is just that after more than 10 years of consistent growth, we have to do things better than ever before to succeed.
Here at Alium, we have embraced this environment. We feel better able than ever to provide the support that you need to make the changes necessary and we look forward to working with you in this exciting Olympic year.