This month's roundup of news and views from around the world was significantly dominated by business, political and natural happenings within North America. However, recent research within the UK might aid in clearing some of the fog that lies ahead for large corporates going into 2013.
There was only one game in town last week and, in reality, there was little surprise at the outcome. President Obama's re-election, irrespective of your political leanings, sees him staring down the barrel of a situation from which the Democrats will struggle to emerge with a tangible or solid "win". The so-called fiscal cliff is exacerbated by potential deadlock in Congress, though some encouraging noises are coming from Republican Representatives, with House Speaker John Boehner suggesting that a deal could be done on tax reform.
That said, the United States is only one country and external forces will play as great a part, if not a more influential one, on its fortunes. However, there appears to be a trend developing with many major American corporates at the moment, with a number of announcements about large-scale job cuts, as organizations scale back in readiness for the tougher times ahead.
As regular readers of Proxima's communications will know, we are strong advocates of a different way of planning for challenging times.
Our webinar explores the long term, sustained benefits of focusing on non-labor, operational costs as a lever for driving value and laying a platform for growth - as opposed to the usual reductions in labor costs, which often later require reversing.
This month we will also begin work on a new piece of analysis, looking at cost trends for America's largest businesses. There will be an interesting comparison with the UK and we'll look forward to sharing the data with you when we're ready to publish. It is already clear, however, that there is considerable scope to unlock positive returns for American businesses, for those that are willing and able to instil a changed mindset within their organizations.
One last thought for this month: in recent days the issue of private sector delivery for UK Government-procured projects has returned to the spotlight. It would be politically extraordinary if the Ministry of Justice awarded G4S a prison contract so soon after the very public rebuke it received at the Select Committee in the Summer, but the debate is being framed in a very two-dimensional way. The debate should not be about whether to outsource, or not to outsource, but about how suppliers, providers and Government can work together most effectively, thereby delivering best value, quality and service. This is a debate that could have a meaningful impact on the success of public sector projects and a cohesive policy, with a coordinated approach, is required.