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2015: the year of growing up?

Published on December 18, 2015

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You may recall that I support the think tank Reform, whose mission is to find a better way to deliver public services and economic prosperity. One of its themes is better government and I attended a dinner on this topic on the evening of George Osborne’s Autumn Statement. I remarked to Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee, that the House of Commons could learn from Eric Berne’s theory called Transactional Analysis, which posits that we all behave like Parents (both nurturing and scolding), Adults (rational) and Children (either playful or protesting). The House, most clearly at Prime Minister’s Questions, is a maelstrom of scolding adults and protesting children which sometimes needs the House of Lords to provide rational solutions, most recently over the planned cut to tax credits. So imagine my surprise when, the following morning, George Osborne described his U-turn on the proposed cuts as “the grown-up thing to do”. Finance, even numbers generally, appear to be rational things but provoke emotional reactions, and it’s the ability of an FD to manage the emotional reactions of those responsible for managing them that determines his/her worth. We have had to present the case for cuts and changes many times this year. Sometimes there is a backlash from some people who feel threatened by the reality of the situation and our job is less about creating and presenting numbers than managing the emotions of those required to implement them.

This is part of the reason why I wrote WealthBeing, which is out now on Amazon: creating something materially fulfilling can be an emotional challenge, especially when it doesn’t go according to plan (which is about 80% of the time!). And sometimes emotions lead us to throw all our toys out of the pram and diminish our chances of material comfort. My guide helps the reader to manage material gain and emotional well-being. One reviewer said that “Malcolm Durham’s ability to bring number crunching and emotional well-being together is truly remarkable”, and another called it “an essential companion for anyone contemplating giving up the monthly pay-check to go it alone. Practical, realistic, heartfelt, informed”. I hope that you enjoy what seems to be a valuable book, so valuable in fact that Wordery are selling second-hand copies at a 50% premium to the cover price!

Happy Christmas.