A practical response strategy

Organize: building an effective taskforce

Straight talks: Organize

Listen to partner Derek Meilman discuss the Organize element of our toolkit.

The outcome of the UK’s referendum will ask questions of every business over the course of a lengthy process.

These questions may be far reaching, political and even philosophical. But for business they nevertheless require practical responses. Responses which start immediately by addressing issues arising from the referendum result, but which also address the process it has triggered and the outcome of that process.

At the heart of a practical response strategy is effective organization.

As you would when planning for a major incident, crisis or takeover, you should establish a dedicated core team to develop your strategy and manage its implementation. To be effective, your “Brexit Taskforce” should fulfil some fundamental requirements:

Broad: Brexit will touch core regulation of products and services, organization of marketing and sales, supply chain, corporate structure, people and internal management. Your Brexit Taskforce should include representatives from key functions across your business.
Strategic: Brexit will drive change: to UK and EU regulation; to trade rules; to access to a skilled work force. This change will impact you, your suppliers and customers and will raise questions going to the heart of your business. Where to trade? Who to work with? Should you change your business mix or business model? Your Brexit Taskforce should be equipped to make rapid connections between Brexit effects and your business strategy.
Durable: Brexit will take years not months. Both the eventual outcome and the process to reach it are dependent on complex political and legal considerations in the UK, the EU, with other EU members and global trading partners. Your Brexit taskforce should be structured for the long-term.
Flexible: Brexit will be unpredictable. The process will have twists and turns. There will be apparent lulls but issues will emerge unexpectedly and need to be dealt with quickly. Your Brexit Taskforce should have access to all the key decision makers when required whilst ensuring Brexit does not become an all-consuming distraction for your entire senior team.
Sensitive: Brexit will continue to be controversial. In planning for the future your business will need to be sensitive to the concerns of both individuals and business partners who may feel exposed, and of politicians and civil servants working to find solutions which are politically deliverable as well as practical. Your Brexit Taskforce should be equipped to consider the perception as well as the substance of your business’s Brexit response.
Opportunistic: Brexit will create opportunities as well as challenges: to reshape the regulatory agenda; to capitalize on uncertainty of competitors, customers or suppliers; to benefit from new global trading patterns. Your Brexit Taskforce should be structured to seek out, and help your business to seize, those opportunities.
International: Brexit will raise questions about the EU and other Member States – not just the UK. Should you rebalance your business toward other EU members? If the UK’s departure changes the balance of EU decision making, how should you react? How will global trade with the EU evolve? Your Brexit Taskforce should be equipped to take a genuinely global view.

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