Happy New Year? Has the man gone mad, I hear you ask. That was also my reaction when a business associate bound in to the office last week declaring a hearty "Happy New Year" to all and sundry! Encountering puzzled looks and an awkward silence, he quickly went on to explain that, for him, after the summer lull September is the start of the new business year and should be celebrated as such.
It's also the time of the year that a lot of people return to work having spent the summer holidays contemplating their futures. Company owners and directors have been lying on their sunbeds thinking about the future of their businesses and employees have been thinking about their careers and maybe, for some, their escape routes.
Therefore, it's safe to assume an awful lot of people have arrived back from their holidays with renewed vigour and enthusiasm for their job, career or business and are looking to make concerted efforts to achieve something positive and, let's be honest, the past 12 months have been pretty dire for lots of people. The mood of the nation hasn't exactly been upbeat. So perhaps now, with some positive notes trickling out through the media and a summer that's seen the stock market bounce back with a vigour no one seems to have anticipated, it does seem a good time to think about making some business New Year resolutions.
Those that know me will think I'm cheating as I'm simply going to resolve to stay optimistic. I'm always positive, I hear them say and that's true. However, just to keep the doomsayers at bay, you need to be vigilant. A lot of people will have spent some of their summer in between eating, drinking and swimming reading business-focused and self-development books. (I once read somewhere that the uptake of these in the summer is higher than at any other time of the year, even Christmas!) So when, like me, your colleagues arrive back at work and are keen to put their new skills or ideas into action, my challenge to all those company bosses out there is not to pour cold water on any new-found enthusiasm.
A few months ago I mentioned 'green shoots', a potential banana-skin comment for anyone. But our experience over the past four months has been largely positive, with an even more buoyant outlook shaping up for the months ahead. And while we certainly aren't back to where we all want to be, one thing we don't want to do is leave any room for unwarranted negative sentiment to creep back. So perhaps my friend is not quite as daft as I first thought. Anything that keeps the mood upbeat has got my vote so a happy new business year to you all!
Guy Moreton is director of recruitment practitioner MorePeople.