Communications & planning (or Brexit – the divorce and how to ease the break-up)

UK PLC is going through a major change in the separation/divorce with the EEU. Companies merge, change and fail, all the time. What lessons can we learn from managing change programmes that might make it easier on the people in the UK and EU? These might also be useful if you are having a tough time at work or with a relationship. I am sure most of us have talked to at least one friend about writing a list of good and bad points, as an aide in making that final decision!

Key lessons: –
Engagement – give key people a chance to feed into change, even when there is no choice about the end destination – there is still time to work on the peripherals that will make a difference to the final success. The UK Government and EU partners are starting to draw initial lines of engagement. But as we are all aware, the devil is in the detail for the outcome.
Take care to acknowledge and listen to different stakeholder views, and give them a chance to offer constructive ideas on the risks, issues and impact, and provide alternative ideas. On a smaller scale let’s imagine your friend has had a difficult day and is about to decide to quit a job, or relationship. You may say, it’s just the weather/one-off incident, or great news at last let’s go celebrate. You might have ideas to ease the current issue, or know you they can move towards a totally different opportunity. Changing attitudes, sharing idea, it’s good to talk!

SWOT or PESTLE analysis – can help before and throughout the change, to mitigate against fears as soon as possible. Leave room for implications and outcomes not yet thought through, and add to it. The Civil Service will be using tools to help relieve fears and to start planning for Brexit.
The SWOT looks at; strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats. By using a simple grid, you can simply see the issues and how some of the potential problems can be dealt with – where they need to be added to your risk register or issues log. You also have all the plus points for further communication – it’s never always doom and gloom.
The PESTLE analysis is more in-depth and you record factors related to; Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental. Make sure you think about mitigation for the risks and issues.
Useful for Brexit, but only the SWOT may help your friend in deciding to stay or go!

Effective communication strategy – keeps people engaged come to terms with the change. Whether they personally welcome it or not – people want to understand the impact on them as individuals. And the snap Election called by the PM on Tuesday the 18th April, will mean new communication strategies from all parties. They will want to target everyone impacted by the change to understand the options, and what might happen. In this case the British public have another chance to vote for different versions of the pathway out.
This is all about the “known knowns” as Donald Rumsfeld once said. Provide reassurance, so individuals (particularly businesses, Brits living abroad and EU citizens in the UK) have time to make their own decisions and mitigate risks on a personal level. Similarly, your friend’s strategy may include giving feedback on why they are leaving or necessary compromises if they decide to stay.

Planning, mitigating and communication can assist with almost every situation – even divorce.