Its five AM and I am sat on a train leaving Manchester station bound for london. It’s the 23rd March a fairly ordinary Wednesday by most standards.
The news is full of the challenges we face. Internationally the conflicts in Afghanistan and now Libya, the natural disasters in Japan and New Zealand, have all been on the Five AM news.
Closer to home the coverage is focused on the budget and the ever tightening grip we are all feeling on our finances. Inflation rising, taxes increasing and wages being constrained are all squeezing the money in our pockets. In turn we are seeing businesses starting to falter as the great british consumers ability to spend, a saviour of previous economic growth, is constrained. Companies like HMV, JJB and Punch Taverns, all directly affected by this drop in consumer disposable income have in the last couple of days announced their plans to restructure, as their incomes come under pressure and they struggle to finance their debts, taken on in more prosperous times.
So as a business transformation expert am I on a train to go and meet failing businesses or to head to the City to discuss Finances as the budget is announced? No after 5 years away I am spending the day visiting Funeral homes. Almost 5 years to the day I am working in an industry which triumphs over adversity on a daily basis.
Set aside the natural reaction to see the Funeral industry as something taboo or morbid and you will see businesses and people who take on challenging situations every day and meet them. This is an industry where people focus on their clients, will go the extra mile to meet their needs and will always have a smile and a comforting word even in the most tragic of situations.
As a business transformation organisation we are always looking for great examples to use to help our clients. The funeral industry gives us great insights into customer service, project management and logistical co-organisation.
So despite the Five AM start (and probably midnight finish), despite the gloomy out look on the Finances, I’m looking forward to a day where I will be reminded that great people, delivering great service can make a real difference in business.