Opportunities created by Brexit are disappointing.
The prospect of a hard Brexit on 31st October would suggest panic and activity in the market, or so we thought. The actual level of business closed as a result of Brexit is minimal but does fall into the areas that are facing the biggest challenges; manufacturing and supply chain.
Speaking to the leaders we work with it is immediate clear that they don’t spend much time reading the plethora of Brexit related articles in the newspapers. They are sick of talking about it and this hasn’t changed with a new PM coming in. Government and media say the same thing; or actually very little. They state that we need clarity on what a deal or no deal looks like; they talk about the dire consequences of our currency devaluation; we hear about big companies like Airbus and Sony moving their UK operations to the mainland and putting thousands of jobs at risk. There is a lot of technical information out there especially about the implications of different tariffs. What we don’t see is a lot of articles in the newspapers about (whether in the context of Brexit or not) leaders creating opportunities during this volatile time. What leaders are doing to make their organisations thrive – both strategic and tactical activities. A CEO in particular is “the” influencer in an organisation. The ones we work with in the main don’t intend to wait and let the waves batter them until our new PM and government tells them exactly what is going on (will that ever happen?). We work with influencers who are getting on and making decisions, making contingency plans, doing things that will not only protect their organisations but aim to help them to thrive in the short, medium and/or long-term.
This is best summed up by one of our top interim transformation directors David Trussler. In a separate opinion piece, he said during an interview that “leaders can look to the consonance of their own behaviours and increase the signalling to their teams that they are actively living the iterative organisational lifestyle and that they value this highly in their colleagues.” Essentially that leaders play a huge part in setting the organisational culture and capability for allowing change and adaptation.
Here are a few examples from our UK based client organisations that you might find interesting:
£100m turnover publicly listed financial business.
From the moment of the referendum they have shifted from a UK oriented “command and control” central structure to a federal one with the key international countries having the power to build their teams and market their products. Head office in the UK was c1,000 staff and now it is down to less than 50 with huge growth in markets such as Mexico, SE Asia and India. They key was having solid products that could meet a need in developing countries
Private equity owned aerospace company.
The Chair of a £200m turnover aerospace business has asked us to review the composition of the Board. Both the CEO and board thought it was a good time to invest in this area to steer the strategy of the organisation during a time of change and uncertainty. This led to a healthy and very open discussion and searches for key skills missing in two areas – knowledge of the Chinese aerospace market; and digital technology skills.
Not for Profit sector.
Russam works across a broad range of charities and not for profit organisations. Our long-term partner, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, has prepared a number of pieces of guidance to help organisations think through the implications of Brexit and to prepare. This can be found here: https://www.ncvo.org.uk/policy-and-research/europe?highlight=WyJicmV4aXQiLCInYnJleGl0JywiXQ==
Since the referendum, Russam has worked closely with a government agency whose key role is to promote Britain as an outward-looking, bold nation with a global approach. They play a key role to ensure Britain’s global success. Our specialist outcome focused change team are enabling the realisation of a truly global organisation that is cloud based, scalable and has near real-time information flows. The future ability to integrate across business platforms (EPM, ERP, CRM, Logistics) will add significant value with the added ability to scenario plan, thus having greater ability to forecast the entire value chain cost. This will be key in developing their global competitiveness.
SME consulting firm.
This firm, again soon after the referendum, set one key performance indicator for the organisation; this was to move from 5% export sales to 25% by the end of 2020. They had to think global (particularly pan-European; realising that geography plays a bit part) and bring in business development staff that had experience of selling outside of the UK and managing more complex cross-border deals. They are ahead of schedule with 21% non-UK sales as of mid 2019.
Whilst working with the organisations mentioned above there was little or no mention of Brexit. These are examples of leaders who sign up to Charles Darwin’s belief that “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” Does it mean that we always need to be changing with or without Brexit? The answer is probably “yes.” We are certain though that a “wait and see” approach is likely to prove dangerous for many businesses.
Can we help you to look at opportunities? While no professional has delivered a Brexit strategy before, our executives have successfully steered organisations through major changes on a global scale. They are change specialists, programme directors, project managers and business strategists with decades of experience behind them. We’re providing dedicated minds and focused resources to businesses in every sector; from financial institutions to manufacturers, logistics providers to retailers.
Get in touch with Gary Lawton for a completely confidential discussion on how we can help yourself or your organisation to thrive: firstname.lastname@example.org
by Gary Lawton, Director - Public Sector