Quietly waiting in a client's reception area, I really should have been rehearsing the main- board presentation I was delivering ten minutes later. And yet, like a moth to a flame, I was drawn to the huge plasma screen showing coverage of Brexit, and the appointment of the UK's new EU ambassador. I'm no fan of rubber neckers, slowing and staring at a road accident, but even I can't resist a sneaky glance. I feel like that about Brexit. Being glued to the daily updates seems like watching a car crash, and yet I can't help myself.
But what am I going to do, with what I see and hear? Without any facts, none of us can easily make firm decisions. We run the risk of making things much too simple or far too complicated. The simple version is where foolish or naïve leaders tell their teams it's too early to say what will happen - or that (worse) “we just won't be affected by Brexit”. And then there’s the complicated - I’m hearing stories of hastily-arranged strategic pow-wows, and people scurrying to sessions on scenario planning. There are two problems with that. First, even the scenarios are unclear; and second I’ve only met a handful of people who’ve mastered crystal-ball gazing.
Many directors of average companies are still wrestling with making their current strategy part of daily life, let alone planning ahead for possibilities and even probabilities. Anticipating the effects of the four red Brexit threads (labour movement, trade policy, EU Budget and the legislative framework) may create a long and complicated list of what-ifs, that average Joes can't hope to fully understand.