We are delighted to feature a guest post from Michael Moore, former Cabinet minister. Michael is a Senior Adviser at PwC, working on Brexit and the implementation of devolution across the UK. We asked him to share his thoughts on the impact of the current political environment on successful leadership.
Any successful leader needs to be forward looking. Seeking to understand the future competitive environment is a must, to which you might also add the societal environment in which the business or public organisation operates. I would add the political environment, too, especially in this age of Brexit, President Trump and the possibility of ‘indyref2’.
This is not to equate any of these three phenomena, but to highlight the point that significant political change, and the potential impact on businesses, are issues which any CEO needs to understand as thoroughly as possible. These are not ‘weather events’, which we can hide from – we are now seeing political and economic climate change and leaders need to prepare accordingly.
Focussing on Brexit, I have been struck by the number of business leaders who still think there is nothing to do at the moment: it’s for the politicians to sort, things are too uncertain or there’s still plenty of time, I am told. I have some sympathy for the first of those, though I would observe that the politicians cannot do this alone – without the right information and analysis provided by private and public sector leaders, how will they make the right choices?
The uncertainty point is superficially sensible, too. Except that, everything about the future is inherently uncertain – and that is not normally an excuse for a leader not to make plans or consider different scenarios for their business.
And as for time, there is not much of it left before the Brexit phoney war ends and the negotiations begin in earnest - at which point the smartest organisations will have engaged on all the relevant issues and be ready to make serious plans for the new order.
So, what to do? In the few months left before ‘Article 50’ is triggered every CEO should be thinking through what life outside the EU Single Market, or even more significantly, the Customs Union would look like – supply chains, customer preferences and labour supply are just three critical aspects to work through. Only with that thinking done, will effective plans be made for life after Brexit.
Senior Adviser on Brexit at PwC
Thank you Michael for sharing your insights.