When I was writing the last introductory article for ‘THE TRIBUNE OF THE CHAIRMAN’ (TO VIMA TOU PROEDROU), I did not expect that world conditions would change dramatically that much. I was sure that this regular article of mine would address my goals and the prospects to the year to come. Unfortunately, that is not the case: I was disproved by the facts and the events themselves and the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.
The cyclic view of history puts forward the theory that difficult times ‘forge’ strong men and, consequently, people who may be leaders. Those of us managing businesses since the outbreak of the global financial crisis in 2008 until today have demonstrated a unique Agility Quotient (AQ) in our efforts to adapt ourselves and our organizations to a permanent scenario of instability. This unprecedented uncertainty continued in Greece with the political crisis and the 2015 referendum which also brought capital controls and bank closure.
In the five years that followed, we all focused on the effort to end the crisis, exit the “memorandum” supervision and start economic recovery. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, was the new imponderable factor that changed all the facts that were known so far, accelerated the digital transformation, had a significant impact on the daily life and radically changed our behavior as consumers. In the wake of the pandemic, businesses were being asked to readjust to a global energy and supply crisis, raw material shortages and inflation.
Despite this, the prospects for the Greek economy were auspicious. At the ACEO General Meeting, just a few days before the outbreak of the war, the overall conclusion following the positions adopted by Minister of Finance, Mr. Christos Staikouras, and those of the Minister of Development and Investments, Mr. Adonis Georgiadis, was that growth is estimated to reach and perhaps exceed 5% while this year’s tourist season is predicted to be almost at the same levels as 2019, which was the peak year for Greek tourism.
A few days later, the invasion in Ukraine has first and foremost thrown the whole of Europe into commotion and then it shocked and then the entire world due to the scale of the humanitarian crisis, the fear of a potential nuclear accident and the terrifying thought of a general conflagration and a world war. The economic crises of 2008 and 2015 taught us to be flexible, the pandemic accelerated our reaction time to events and the conditions we live in today may demonstrate the role of businesses in shaping social developments. One only has to look at the reaction of many organizations to the events in Ukraine.
In the light of this domino effect of the events that occurred during the last years, any prediction for the future seems presumptuous. Perhaps the greatest leadership lesson we have all learned in the last 15 years is exactly what Mark Twain said: “Every prediction is difficult, especially if it refers to the future.” So instead of predictions, I would like to end this with a wish of all of us for the restoration of peace in Ukraine.
Those of us managing businesses since the outbreak of the global financial crisis in 2008 until today have demonstrated a unique Agility Quotient (AQ) in our efforts to adapt ourselves and our organizations to a permanent scenario of instability.
Chairman of the ACEO Board of Directors