Blog: Managing Your Brexit Crisis

Brexit is not a seven day crisis; nor even seven week or seven month.

In fact, in a long career of crisis management, I have never seen its like. Yes, of course, there are immediate issues to be addressed. In an utterly changed landscape, issues of confidence have suddenly been unleashed. Previously solid, secure, safe enterprises now find their very futures questioned. Staff look for reassurance on job security; lenders want to know that their exposure is still without risk; clients and customers need to be sure that delivery will in no way be impaired. But in a time of churning, opaque uncertainty, messages of reassurance can easily sound more like whistling in the dark. As ever, credibility is king, and reassurance based on wishful thinking can do more harm than good.

But for many organisations, this will be merely the beginning.  Ahead lies the likelihood that a changed professional, societal, political and commercial universe will demand hard decisions and painful measures.  And each of these will need to be managed in such a way that they do not, in themselves, spread further uncertainty and alarm.

These days, most well-run organisations have their Crisis Management plans in place, but fewer have strategies for Acute Issues Management, and this is what will be needed now. Systems and strategies for issues monitoring and early identification, scenario planning, access to informed, objective external counsel, especially in areas such as legal risk, government affairs, and indeed, strategic crisis management can all be hugely important.

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