Thursday, November 7, 2019

Brexiteers to the left of me, Remainders to the right – here I am stuck in the middle with you!

Whether you voted to stay, leave or didn’t vote, the topic of Brexit is very loud, very current and will be impacting on everyone’s life in the UK.  It’s one of the few topics that has caused families to feud, friends to fall out and businesses to re-evaluate. Even the so called ‘Experts on Brexit’ can’t agree and provide concrete answers.

While there are countless arguments, I’m not about to join in.  I’m in the middle.  Logically my head says one thing, my gut instinct says another and no one side of this has the definitive answer simply because there isn’t one.

There are, however, a lot of similarities one could draw upon and lessons to be learnt on how Managers and Directors should be leading their business.

If countries and continents were actual proper businesses so that the UK, together with every other European country were Subsidiaries of the Corporate EU and all of us voters are the shareholders of our respective subsidiaries, we’d be looking at this from a totally different perspective!

For example – just imagine if the politicians were Managers and Board members. Would we as shareholders allow them to behave this way or would they have been called to task ages ago?  How a board acts, the communication it sends and the resulting output it achieves all relates to their actions and it ultimately affects the share price and that so far, is slipping.  Could we be now facing a possible recession?

But it’s not just about the subsidiary – what about the board members in Corporate EU? They are also being deliberate in their actions. Looking at the situation from this new perspective, it’s as if they are communicating in a way as if to warn any other subsidiary off from wanting to demerge! My cynical view? Maybe, but as a shareholder, I’m worried because if there are other subsidiaries that want to leave, it’s usually a sign that there’s something much deeper within the corporate that we don’t get to hear about until it’s too late – maybe like Lehman Brothers, Enron, WorldCom… 

And then there’s the Holding Company – that tiny organisation that controls the Corporate company overall – erm..  in this case that would be the same notion of the “European State” that is now being put forward sometimes shouted and then quietly hushed. Back in the day, we used to call these kind of organisations Quango’s but still had the same meaning of even less people secretly voted in by only a handful of privileged few to control everything overall – so maybe my cynical view isn’t too much off the mark because they definitely couldn’t afford more subsidiaries to leave if they are intent on making it happen!  Now it starts to make sense – the will of the few to want to control so much at the expense of the many. 

If your CEO, board team or even your manager is acting like some of the current politicians, I’d bet you’d be re-thinking about your job or firing them.  And if you are re-thinking this then just think about the perception your clients are getting.  Communication is everything.  No client would like to be supplied by a company that’s not confident about its future and if you lose the trust o your top talent, how much would that cost you if they left?

For those organisations that have used this as a wake up call to revaluate how Brexit impacts their suppliers and clients and then done something about it means they are the ones that are going to be ahead no matter the outcome. 

Are you one of the many who think that because you don’t have EU as a market it doesn’t affect you? Wrong! New players will find their way to your market space because maybe their normal route has been compromised and they, like you want to continue business. 

If you are in the middle, then like me, you should be making your plans about the two possible future paths ahead.  Having a future or not having a future.  If were thinking Brexit or No Brexit, you’ve fallen into the trap of forgetting Brexit is just another business issue! Granted it’s on a much bigger scale but when you put it back into business context, it is just another business issue. 

As a good leader,  which I am sure you are as you have read this far, you should be thinking what you need to have in place to keep your business alive irrespective of Brexit or no Brexit. 
You should have used this as an opportunity to;

  • check what skills you and your team need or strengthen
  • re-do a basic SWOT analysis
  • consider the BLINDSides – who could steel your clients away from you
  • discover where new markets could be if needed
  • Create a back-up plan
  • what changes have to happen to keep to your supply chain unhindered or your client base robust
  • seek out new information that could tip opportunities more your way and
  • have a constant monitoring system to avoid any hypothetical icebergs on the horizon that could sink your business  

The fact that the issue on the table today is called Brexit should be just another business issue.  This should not be your iceberg. 

Use this as the opportunity to build a future, stronger, robust, forward thinking organisation and turn your organisation’s culture towards how to work for; the good of the stakeholders, the employees and the community surrounding it and you will find all your icebergs will become mere ice cubes because no one will want it to fail.

Being in the middle is a good place to be if you use it to build wisely. May all your icebergs be turned into icecubes!

'till later, 

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