Brexit Backlash and 7 Ways Bold Decisions Fail

The United Kingdom made a bold decision to leave the European Union on Thursday, the so-called “Brexit” vote. By Tuesday, news stories were already piling up that … maybe it wouldn’t? How many times have you seen that in a business?

Between the referendum and that hammer blow hitting, the U.K. had done absolutely nothing to move toward Brexit. Thus, the entire event has been defined by its economic detonation and the political fallout.

People tend to not want to move after they’re hit. That’s why it’s important to get the organization moving on the actions that will enable the bold decision before they take that hit. You need to seize momentum before the hammer does.

That’s a lot easier to do in a company than a country, so take advantage of your relative nimbleness.

5. Understand the Damage and Be Ready to Absorb It

Momentum is only one aspect of managing the pain of bold decisions. You have to know how you’re going to survive that hit as well.

Investors across the world were surprised by the leave results — especially in Britain, where the financial markets are in London and Leave seemed like an unimaginable result. The Brexit Crash took everyone unaware.

If you’re pushing the bold decision, you need to correctly assess what the damage might be and take steps to mitigate it. Maybe that means being willing to take on extra debt while the new plan comes together, or having a stock pile of cash, or planning more flexibility in the work force, or something I’m not even thinking of.

Don’t be overconfident about the pain that will come from a bold decision, no one’s as tough as they think they are.

6. Have Leadership Behind the Decision

As I mentioned, Cameron’s resignation has the potential to completely derail Brexit, especially if the battle to name his successor becomes the real Brexit vote. Right now it looks like the most likely way Brexit would be avoided would be if Cameron’s successor, with tacit support form his party and voters, simply said “Nah, we’re not going to do that.”

Would John Oliver Shrug Off brexit?
Yes, in my head, the new prime minister would be John Oliver.

Leadership can do that. They can do it even more easily in a corporate setting. That’s why leadership must be behind any truly bold decision, and be willing to support it through the pangs of implementation.

If you don’t have the C-suite, you’ve got nothing.

7. Know Exactly Where to Find the Spoils

The best way to get people’s minds off of the pain of a bold decision is to show them its rewards.

Right now, Brexit is looking to be all hammers and no carrots. Who tangibly benefits from following through on it? A lot of parties would answer that in a lot of different ways, but we’ve already talked about how Leave leader Nigel Farage has backtracked on one benefit. What else is there for voters to focus on but the financial and political damage?

It goes with the momentum discussion above: Rush to the first place you know you can find tangible rewards for the people following through on the bold decision. The sooner you can show results and prove to your supporters that this bold decision was in their best interest, then the sooner you move the conversation away from the hammer and onto what you built with it.

If you feel like you talk more about bold decisions than enact them, take a look at where Brexit is struggling and see if you’re suffering backlash for the same reasons.

* Some details of the revote petition are hilarious: It was actually started before the election by a Leave supporter who expected to lose a close vote. Since the vote, 3 million Remain supporters have signed it hoping to spark the revote after Leave won. It’s creator wishes they’d stop.

Author: Thorin McGee

Thorin McGee is editor-in-chief and content director of Target Marketing and oversees editorial direction and product development for the magazine, website and other channels.

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