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Business Leadership CEOs, Brexit

by Nigel Peters


What Should CEOs Do Post Brexit?

Without a doubt the EU referendum result has left companies around the country wondering what to do next. Do we wait for our new Prime Minister to trigger Article 50, or do we keep calm and carry on?

Uncertainty is never good for business; Q4 and Q1 have been difficult months for many organisations in the run up to the EU referendum with decisions and programmes put on hold for after the vote. Many industries are having a particularly tough time, especially when currency has impacted them.

The uncertainty caused by the Brexit result, combined with parliamentary disruption and still no clear plan, has compounded this with investors withdrawing funds, and projects mothballed.

However, in my recent discussions with CEOs and industry leaders, I know that the initial surprise of a Brexit vote has now being replaced by a desire for action. Brexit has not actually happened yet, and although confidence has been severely hit, the consequences of an actual Brexit are a long way off. It is time to get back to business.

The Brexit vote does not change the primary challenges facing UK organisations either. Whether it is growth, skills shortages, external competition, organisational culture or any other challenge, these issues have not gone away because of the Brexit result. Instead they need to be re-aligned with a post-Brexit environment and any changes that this creates. Here are my recommendations for taking action and driving forwards.

Business Leaders: 3 Post-Brexit Steps For CEOs

  1. Review Strategy

The first step must be to review current business strategy and the ramifications of Brexit on business objectives. Understanding the impact of how the vote and current political uncertainty is (or will) impact on the cost of capital, and whether access to capital will be affected will be a key factor of this review. With the UK financial outlook now less stable it would be wise to also reduce debt exposure too. Work winning teams must be competitive, must find ways to differentiate themselves and be better than the rest, and must optimise business strategies for a new market.

  1. Review Business Costs

Now is the time to look at existing costs within the business and remove unnecessary ones. Sectors who have been slow to adopt technology may find that this is one area that can help future proof a business and drive costs down. Procurement processes and supply chain may also need to be aligned with a new strategy and post-Brexit considerations; business leaders should be assessing how an exit from the single market could impact on costs for the business.

  1. Look To The Future

While we do not have a crystal ball we can start to anticipate what the market will look like post-Brexit, and how our businesses will need to adapt. Organisations that embrace an agile business model will have an advantage here. Those that do not might now look at ways to become more entrepreneurial to enable them to adapt to change, and to seize new opportunities. We all need to be smarter, not just to address the threat of Brexit but to continue to innovate and drive forward the business.

Perhaps the most important step you can take today is to get some expert support and advice. Senior Interim Directors are uniquely positioned to support organisations during change; in fact I believe they are the only people with the relevant experience to guide organisations through momentous changes like Brexit. Their expertise that comes from exposure to a wide range of challenges faced by organisations, not least the global recession, and an ability to draw on this experience to find solutions in the best interest of the companies they work with.

I have created a checklist of actions CEOs should take today. These are the actions Senior Interim Directors recommend to manage post-Brexit threats and seize the opportunities that this vote presents. Click on the link below for your copy.

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About the Author

Nigel Peters

As well as his strategic role of Managing Partner, Nigel also has responsibility for the Private Sector practice. Heading up this division, Nigel and his team are responsible for the immediate provision of senior interims and transformation teams to lead business solutions across a wide span of the private sector from FTSE 250/100 to private equity and AIM listed businesses. His team provide director level and senior management roles across the traditional functional areas such as HR, finance, IT and procurement, as well as business leaders to deliver transformational change and integration expertise.

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