How often have we said; “If Only?”
I had occasion today to read a copy of the Times that I had saved from 27th August 2005, exactly seven years ago. The headlines say it all. It brings to mind the importance of public leaders understanding risk and uncertainty. Could this have been avoided? As we look back in 2012 and with the benefit of hindsight, we most certainly would wish so.
Writing in the analysis section of the Business Section of the Times, Gerard Baker reminded readers that Alan Greenspan (then the Chairman of the Federal Reserve) usually plants a small gem of information that gives an important clue to his latest thinking on US monetary policy. He called for higher interest rates to stem the boom in prices and the significant consequences that may happen if the bubble burst. Interestingly, it was pointed out the housing market was of more significance to the economy in the UK than it is in the US.
Seven years later, as we face a financial crisis on both sides of the Atlantic, fuelled by the banking crisis and corporate greed, perhaps the answer today is “I told you so”.
As Charles Handy once said, “Understanding the past is important in understanding the present and predicting the future”. Risk, uncertainty and prediction should be key skills in leaders – and not just public leaders!