27 October 2016
I was reading an interesting article on the BBC’s website last night, about how workers deal with the insecurity in our post-Brexit economy.
It made me think: how should business leaders deal with the anxiety of uncertainty?
It’s a well-known fact that many big businesses hate uncertainty, but sometimes it’s simply a part of life.
As mentioned in the article, people can easily deal with the effects of an electric shock, but if you know that you are going to get one, you’d rather get it over and done with sooner rather than later. It’s true that when you’re waiting for it, it’s difficult to think about anything else.
The vote to leave the European Union is one of the biggest shocks I have known in my time in business. Undoubtedly the fact that nobody knows exactly what will happen next or when it will happen is the most concerning part. But does that mean we have to stand still and wait? Should all our big decisions remain on hold?
I think sometimes uncertainty can shake up a business into preparing for all eventualities. Whatever the outcome of a situation is going to be, you’re likely to come out better, because you’ve become more agile. Preparation and a positive mind go a long way.
When you’re going through a period of uncertainty, there is no option to rest on your laurels. You have to be quick and reactive, responding to the world around you and working to stay ahead of other businesses.
I’m not saying that uncertainty is desirable. It brings up a host of challenges. But when faced with it, I don’t believe there is any point in dwelling on the things we can’t change. Why would we obsess over what could have been or what would be the ideal situation for our business? We have to be able to deal with setbacks and make them part of our growth.
Although I was clear in my opinion of not wanting to leave the European Union, I don’t think we should be encouraging a culture of fear in business; it becomes a huge distraction for where our focus should be. Why would we assume the worst will happen and focus on the worst-case scenario?
There have been times when I’ve thrived on not knowing exactly what was over the next hill. It’s part of the job, because most opportunities are found in unchartered waters. Every possible outcome can be both an opportunity and a learning curve.
Whatever the consequences of Brexit will be, I’m convinced that we will find a way of dealing with it.
Are you ready to take on the challenge?