How To Tackle Brexit
I got the idea for this blog post whilst sitting watching Question Time on the telly and swearing at panellists failing to answer the questions put to them.
Brexit is a popular hobby horse just now, for good reason I admit. But vexing over whether or not Brexit is a good idea is no longer worthwhile. The decision has been made. It’s going to happen. None of us have any idea what it’s going to be like. Least of all, I suspect, the politicians involved. Most of whom appear to be completely out of their depth.
It’s Not Happened Yet
For several years I worked developing “scenarios” for business situations. Scenario development is a tool for trying to understand how events might play out in the light of current developments. In the right hands it can be quite effective. If done badly – as it was by VisitScotlands’ “crystal ball gazer” some years ago – it can be the butt of a good deal of derision and rightly so (even an average “scenario” practitioner recoils in horror at the thought of being associated with crystal balls…).
It’s a good discipline to understand. It forces you to articulate four things about your business environment:
- What you know.
- What you don’t know but can be found out through research because the facts exist somewhere or somebody else knows all about it and you can ask them.
- What you don’t know but you can work out a rough estimate based on 1 x 2 x a little bit of thought.
- What you can’t know. Usually because it hasn’t happened yet or there is a level of uncertainty regarding outcomes and implications.
Scenario development uses the first three to try to establish an understanding of the fourth. Businesses use the technique to try to understand how extremely uncertain events are going to play out over time. The further away in terms of time, the more uncertain an event is likely to be. The main reason businesses use scenarios is because they seek the advantage they offer. That advantage is some prepared thinking in a world of uncertainty. There is one thing for sure, we live in an uncertain world. There are likely to be unexpected changes in structure. Where there is uncertainty there is opportunity for the prepared mind.
But Brexit hasn’t happened yet. At the time of writing the negotiations haven’t started. We’re in the calm before the storm. It could be a disaster, it could be a relief. Nobody knows. It’s time to start being professional about it.
Take Advantage Of Uncertainty
So instead of harping on about Brexit, regardless of which side you were on, your job as a hotelier is to get on with it. Your time will be much better spent trying to identify sources of opportunity for, and indeed threats to, your business.
For example, if all the eastern European staff leave, where are you going to find their replacements?
Or if something happens to reduce the volume of tourists from the EU or perhaps the USA – how will your business respond? And I do mean “respond”, not “react”.
There’s a lot of choppy, uncertain water ahead. Your job isn’t to vex about the politics. Instead it’s about establishing how to navigate your business through it.
…much more important than polishing teaspoons.
I may even start a Brexit scenario project on the HotelSphere website as a service to members.