If you are working with an organisation that faces potential impact from the outcome of the Brexit vote on 23rd June the next month or so will be an interesting time for you.

Every potential outcome of the referendum is riddled with ifs and buts, every ‘fact’ or piece of data is immediately challenged and shot down by the opposing parties. There is no solid or certain basis to work from. There are a number of reasons for this including:-
• We haven’t done this before so there are no precedents
• We are dealing with the complexities of a whole nation
• There are some strong political threads running through this seeking to sway opinion
• Quite honestly, no one knows for sure what will happen beyond the decision point

As I watch the media coverage and discuss with friends and colleagues the pros and cons of an exit, who the ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ will be, the whole situation reminds me of the Millennium bug issue at the start of 2000. No one was sure of what would happen but the risk was deemed great enough to warrant investigation and lots of IT Teams were put on standby just in case. We all breathed a sigh of relief when, on 1st January 2000, we still had power and water and the world just kept on turning. Awesome!

This is again one of those events that we know is coming – we just don’t know the impact and in this particular case the timescale over which any impacts will be realised. Nevertheless we feel we should be doing something – but what?

Some organisations will be considering steps they can take now to reduce or eliminate the potential impacts either through adopting defensive positions or hedging against the anticipated outcomes. Think about your own organisation, what can you do? What should you do? To some extent you could be damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Between now and 23rd June there will be more speculation, more uncertainty. In fact the only certainty is uncertainty and we know the one thing that is guaranteed to make the financial markets jittery or nervous is uncertainty so expect some volatility over the coming weeks and months.

The good news is that whatever happens there will be an outcome. There will be an adventure afterwards. Life will go on.

Whatever happens, countries will still want to trade with one another. Existing rules may change and if necessary new ones will emerge depending on the outcome. Irrespective of the outcome we will still be able to enjoy fine French wines, drive good German cars and go on holiday to Spain or Italy if we want to.

Once the decision is made our organisations will be able to start to develop their understanding of the environments in which they will operate. It’s going to take time, there may well be further uncertainty but at least we will know the direction in which we are heading.

May 9, 2016 at 7:50 pm
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Category: Planning
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