Derek Bishop


Engaging in Brexit

Date added: 20th Oct 2016
Category: Leadership

Brexit is going to come. Do we sit back and wait to see what happens or do we go all out to deliver a strong future through engaged innovation?

Love it or hate it, there’s no getting away from the fact that the Brexit effect has started to make an impact on our business and personal lives. The Marmite-gate skirmish may be over but it is an indication of things to come as businesses seek to maintain competitive advantage in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world.

As the pound falls and the markets soar it’s not just our membership of the EU which is up for negotiation; potentially everything is up for grabs. So whilst the key focus may be on trade tariffs, on sourcing raw ingredients and packaging and onward sales, wise businesses will also be looking at infrastructure and supply chains, at internal and external processes and at the expertise delivered by both their workforces and external advisers.

Should we be worried? Well it certainly wouldn’t be sound business practice to be complacent but it’s certainly not a time to panic. In fact when the kaleidoscope of business is being shaken up to such an extent that everything is up for review, it brings a fantastic opportunity to look afresh and build new patterns which will deliver a strong future.

Those who are already leading Next Generation Organisations, who have embraced the idea of focusing on intelligence, collaboration and adaptability in order to deliver game changing cultures of innovation, are in a great position to benefit from this time of uncertainty. But they are only going to do so if they take their people with them.

In a VUCA world it is hardly surprising that people become anxious; anxious about their jobs, anxious for their futures. Silence from the top will breed rumours. Rumours from the top will lead to gossip and unease. Before you know it you are in a downward spiral of falling productivity and increasing disengagement at the very time when you could really do with your workforce being completely committed.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. Leaders who are clear on the strategy and values and behaviours of the organisation, leaders who work hard to transform the culture and to deliver engagement will have a very different experience. Engaged employees who are kept fully informed about the strategy for the business won’t just accept the status quo, they will actively look to drive innovative improvements. Leaders who have successfully built a culture of innovation won’t need to instigate process or product reviews because their people will be constantly looking out to develop real solutions to genuine problems.

Quite simply; the world may be volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous but for innovative and engaged businesses those are the very factors which can lead to the greatest success. There are some things we can’t change, Brexit is going to come whether we like it or not and we may have to make some hard choices along the way. But the hardest choice of all isn’t really a choice at all. Do we sit back and wait to see what happens or do we go all out to deliver a strong future through engaged innovation?

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