I can’t really remember a time when the political landscape was as uncertain as it is today. Most of the time politics and business mixes on long timescales, political decisions set the tax regime and the regulatory environment, and changes are discussed in advanced and implemented with reasonable timescales that allow well run, strategically operated businesses to plan for change. More than that, the best businesses will take the time to plan those changes to leverage competitive advantage and unlock sustainable profits that others miss. Many business owners don’t engage with the politics, it’s simply not relevant to the business to do so.
Today, politics and business are mixing on daily timescales. Business owners have to be aware of the possibility of major external change in relation to their strategy. Uncertainty about what is coming is greater than ever; planning is difficult and the risks of undertaking projects to be ready, for example, for leaving the single market, is that the end result may still be very different from the current sense of direction. Business strategy is always about aligning to long-term goals. External, and political, change can take you off track, so the best strategies are adaptive and know when to react to guarantee to reach the goals you set. Yet the costliest mistakes often result from being too eager to make changes only to find later that the basis of the original decision was inappropriate or redundant.
What to do in order to avoid costly mistakes?
- Focus on what you can control. If you have already planned a change that won’t be affected by other matters, get on with it.
- Concentrate on what is already working, so that you maximise the current value you are creating for your clients.
- Get even more clarity on your business model, so that you can be agile with changes as soon as there is greater certainty on the impacts of political change.
- Identify the risks of the principle outcomes of the elements you can’t control, such as political change, or competitor reaction to the business environment. Plan your mitigations and take any actions that are independent of the outcome of external matters.
- Learn where to find the reliable sources of data about the changes that could affect your business and watch them carefully.
- Identify how you will determine that you are certain enough to trigger action or conclude a decision.
Could the current political risks damage your business? How are you mitigating those risks? Have you delayed decisions that affect your ability to achieve your goals?