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The impact of Brexit on business: What effect can Brexit have on organizational resilience?

Posted on 15 March 2019

The impact of Brexit on business: What effect can Brexit have on organizational resilience?

It is difficult, no matter where you source your information to avoid all things Brexit in our current national discourse. It is a subject matter that can motivate huge passion and complete apathy in equal measure. We currently have clients to whom the consequences of Brexit are very real and are not being experienced positively. The famous American football coach Vince Lombardi said: “Confidence is contagious, but so is a lack of confidence”. These clients are experiencing in real terms the business consequences that a lack of confidence in being predictable brings.

If organizations are to emerge on the front foot and with confidence then what is needed during this period of uncertainty is Organisational Resilience - the ability to anticipate, prepare for, respond and adapt to incremental change and sudden disruptions to survive and prosper. Resilience is required for businesses to respond to disruptions and positively adapt in the face of challenging conditions. Leaders need to both ‘insure’ against bad events, while at the same time adapt and change before the cost of not doing so becomes too great. Brexit will be a mild distraction for some, and a significant disruption for others, leaving leaders in need to offer foresight and insight to their people on how the organization intends to respond.

A core function of leadership involves helping people understand the nature of the challenges confronting the organization and selecting appropriate responses. Einstein is reputed to have said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” Many organizations we work with struggle identifying the nature of the real problems they are confronted with and jump straight into solutions. Being very clear about how Brexit “practically” affects your organization will assist in defusing the corrosive emotional assumptions made in the absence of clarity. It will also give those within the organization awareness and understanding of how they need to adapt, not just to bounce back, but to bounce forward, grow and prosper.

Workforce involvement and engagement is fundamental in ensuring organizations are not only consistently informed but emerge “post Brexit” on the front foot and energized. Leaders need to be competent, and with a deep understanding of the non-technical skills, they need to show to protect their people from the stress of disruption motivating and inspiring them toward the future. “Waiting out the storm” is no longer an option. Transparency, trust, involvement and engagement, are organizational attributes that underpin a Culture of Care where people are genuinely seen as being at the heart of the solution and where having “Care” as an input creates resilience as one of many outputs.

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