Pragmatism in the face of uncertainty

Uncertainty feels inherently risky and that’s unsettling for financial markets, businesses and individuals alike. So, while the emotional fervour of the immediate aftermath from the EU Referendum result ebbs away leaving uncertainty in its wake, how should businesses respond?

In this third article in the series of Leading Change in a post-Brexit world (see /campaigns/brexit), Stewart Barnes, Managing Director of QuoLux, advocates ‘pragmatic resilience’.

Barnes suggests there are three important considerations for the leader of any business that can be acted upon now, and which will help fortify firms in response to today’s changing world. 

“Now, more than ever, it’s time to stick to the plan. Don’t lose sight of what you’re working towards.

“While you may need to adjust some tactical aspects of your plan in the coming months as you react to an emerging new ‘reality’ of regulations or market adjustments, hold true to the clear goal and purpose. Make sure you, and your leadership team, are concentrating your energy in the same direction.”

Communication must also be a priority during uncertain times.

“Just as you need to remind yourselves as leaders to keep focused on your overall goals, it’s important to make time to refresh this message to your people too.

“Keep this balanced, delivering a clear picture of the firm’s purpose, ambitions and goals, but also link this to what staff can effect themselves – the tasks they do each and every day.

“Don’t assume that because you shared the plans at a company meeting last year, or in a newsletter six months ago, that everyone is as clear and focused as you are.

“Even the most outwardly positive of your team might be feeling quietly concerned, so create an opportunity to show everyone that you are clear, positive, pragmatic and determined about the company’s future, and that they can be too.”

Barnes’ third point is a timely reminder that a well-run business has the greatest propensity for long-term success, however the economy performs.

“Businesses that uphold best practice and consistently demonstrate excellence are the most resilient. That’s why now is the perfect time to get your house in order.

“Is your business plan up to date? When did you last review market intelligence or gather customer insight? Is it understood where you make most of your profit? Are you clear about how you can gain and maintain competitive advantage?

“Make it a priority for your board or senior management team to consider these questions, and agree some actions for any areas which you identify as needing further work.

“It’s really valuable to positively challenge the way that senior teams plan for growth, to ensure the strategy and the systems in place to make it reality are robust. External support can help to achieve this, and at QuoLux our LEAD-GOLD-GAIN programmes assist local businesses to create winning strategies that deliver sustainable competitive advantage.”

QuoLux sponsors the Lifetime Achievement category in the Gloucestershire Echo and Gloucester Citizen Business Awards.

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