Lingering like a house guest that has drunk all your booze and just won’t leave the party, nobody likes 2016.
In fact, the past 24 hours have been a reminder of just how appalling 2016 has been, with a suspected terrorist attack in Berlin and the murder of a diplomat in Turkey. Coming in a year in which we witnessed so many terrorist atrocities, most memorably in Brussels and Paris, and when political violence in Aleppo has shocked and horrified in equal measure, 2016 certainly feels like the year the world changed.
Whether you agree with them or not, you can throw in a good measure of the UK’s voting for Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and the rise of populist parties at the extreme right and left of the spectrum to create a heady cocktail of political and economic uncertainty.
And we haven’t yet discussed the loss of cultural icons like David Bowie, Prince, Harper Lee, Leonard Cohen and Terry Wogan or sporting legends like Muhammad Ali and Johan Cruyff. In our minds they were the immortals, however, 2016 had other plans and took many of them before their time.
Unfortunately 2016 is an even worse house guest than we first thought. Not only will it not go home, it actually wants to stay overnight.
Worse than the snoring and the thought that you might wake up to find 2016 sleeping in your bathtub, having cleared out the contents of the fridge, is the feeling of dread that the worst is yet to come.
When the bell finally tolls for 2016 and we’re linked arm in arm singing Auld Lang Syne (it’s pronounced with an ‘s’ not a ‘z’ by the way), giving thanks that 2016 has passed it may be worth remembering that the legacy of this annus horibilis may continue way into 2017 and beyond.
With French and German Presidential elections to come in 2017, Italy in a permanent state of flux (in a way that only Italy can be) and the UK’s anticipated triggering of Article 50, the European Union – the most successful peace and security project in political history – looks on an increasingly wobbly peg.
We are experiencing a wave of angry ultra-nationalism at a time when a clear headed and considered reimagining of old relationships has never felt more necessary, with the promise of an increasingly protectionist America, 2017 barriers to international trade and wildly shifting currency valuations.
So what is the message for businesses looking to operate within this crazed new environment?
The answer is patience. Keep doing what you do best. Innovative companies will continue to innovate in even the worst of circumstances. Talented staff remain talented staff in spite of the political and economic uncertainties that surround them. Instability may be like grist to the mill for gamblers and speculators alike but, for most companies, 2017 will be about holding firm and taking a longer term view on investment and growth strategies.
So, 2016, its time to get your coat and clear off. You overstayed your welcome and, if we have any say in things, you won’t be allowed back.