10 November 2014

Should British businesses be less polite?

It’s not a question I’ve ever asked myself before but it appears that the Duke of York has, as he announced to the BBC last week that “we need to be more competitive and fight for what we have” rather than “being happy with being second best”. Whilst I don’t dispute the sentiment, as healthy competition is always good for business, I’m not sure it’s fair to say British business owners are settling for second place. I’d argue that, as entrepreneurs, we’re a fairly ambitious bunch.

bullThe Duke also argued that we don’t “push and shove” in our dealings with countries like China yet, once again, is this really the best way to do business? I understand the value of being assertive and passionate, but pushing and shoving? Correct me if I’m wrong but is the implication of this not that we would benefit from bullying other business? If so, surely this is not the right way to go about our interactions with other companies, whether in Britain or overseas.

I admire the Duke of York’s ambition for British business and UK entrepreneurialism, but the way he expressed this encouragement seems to have rattled a few cages. In fact, his comment about our need to be more “bullish” is almost an anagram of the word a number of business owners are using to respond to his comments!

Where do you stand on the matter? Are British businesses too polite for our own good?

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