The Brexit countdown is on… As I’m writing this it is exactly 44 days, 2 hours, 37 minutes and 16 seconds until the UK officially leaves the EU and many organisations are bracing themselves for what’s to come.

Brexit, oh Brexit.

On that fateful referendum day in 2016, 52% of the UK electorate voted to leave the EU.

The Prime Minister quickly handed Mrs May that poisoned chalice that became known as Brexit and ran for the hills. Mr Cameron was then not to be seen again until last week, when he reappeared in the political limelight to promote his forthcoming memoirs

The Brexit negotiations have been characterised by complexity, scandal, chaos and delay, but now Mr Johnson promises us that the leaving date of 31st October is set in stone. However, he has suspended parliament, lost his majority and no-one appears to actually know where we are in our negotiations with Europe. The only known is uncertainty.

 

Radical uncertainty.

Brexit is unpredictable, to say the least. As the negotiations to date have been largely unsuccessful, we don’t really know what a post-Brexit economic environment will look like. There is little clarity in terms of key dimensions such as trade, migration and regulation.

The latest economic data is pretty alarming; growth is slowing, the value of sterling falling and unemployment rising. And to top it all the press seems determined to talk us into another recession, albeit possibly a mild one.

Organisations today are therefore not just dealing with ‘regular’ market uncertainty, but radical uncertainty. It’s very worrying that many private as well as public sector entities remain relatively unprepared for this post-Brexit world and, in particular, a cliff-edge ‘No Deal’ scenario.

 

But in this uncertainty is there opportunity?

This highly complex and volatile economic environment presents serious challenges for many organisations. Those businesses that are not prepared to adapt and are persevering with old, archaic pre-Brexit mindsets, methodologies and platforms are very likely to fail.

Nonetheless, periods of uncertainty also create tremendous opportunity for organisations that have a strong vision, are able to think strategically and are willing to transform and innovate.

Business transformation has a terrible track record of success often resulting in very costly, ineffective, inflexible and unaligned operating models that don’t meet the changing needs of the market, customers and staff. But this needn’t be the case. 

Modern transformation is about adopting a culture that accepts and indeed embraces change. Modern technology and disciplines mean that we can even architect an operating model that delivers precisely what is needed, when it is needed. Matching services to the rapidly changing needs of our customers and users allow us to architect perpetual change into our businesses.

Therefore, I contend that Brexit is an opportunity. And for those businesses that seize it in the right way, they have the opportunity to implement a culture that will end the vicious and expensive cycle of failed transformations that dog our industry. Embrace change now in a way that means you will never have to transform your business in reaction to a Brexit type catalyst ever again.

 

Radical uncertainty requires radical, perpetual change. 

Old cultures, structures and frameworks will have to be fundamentally reimagined and redesigned. Businesses need to demonstrate inspirational vision that drives the adoption of agile systems and processes that allow them to iterate and change at pace in order to manage risks and navigate successfully through the unknown.

It will be critical to phase out expensive and inefficient legacy technology and invest in new, flexible and more cost-effective systems that can provide:

 

  • A platform for mapping, reviewing and planning your business strategy, vision and processes as well as taking action to Brexit-proof key aspects of your business plan such as supply chains or recruitment.
  • Tools for capturing, storing and analysing data compliantly and effectively.
  • Digital team collaboration workspaces that promote a transparent company culture and enable your employees to ‘work out loud’ and quickly react to change.

 

Organisations that are able to develop and embed these new solutions have every chance of thriving in not only a post-Brexit world, but whatever the next challenge is that is thrown our way.

Jan Joubert, CEO, Rainmaker Solutions

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