Businesses and business people across the land are staring hard at Brexit and weighing up the odds. From what I have observed the sentiment here seems to match with that of the senior business leaders we engage with every day; remain. Being in the tent looking out is far more preferable to being on the outside trying to peep in.
The stats being presented by all sides of the argument are in the main confusing and add little to the ‘man on the Clapham omnibus’. Neither side of the debate seems to want to make a reasoned rational and accessible argument. We are at risk of drowning in hyperbole. ‘Remain’ seems to be the vote of commerce and ‘Exit’ seems to be a vote on immigration policy. There is surely more to it.
This is too big an issue to be divided on such overtly simplistic lines. It is an issue that will have implications for your children’s children and beyond. A recent dinner speaker of ours; Paul Dreschler, Chairman of the pro-Remain CBI, spoke passionately about the responsibility of business leaders to stimulate debate of these issues with their teams. Bring people into the debate, so that they make informed choices about the economy in the now, and the economy that they create for the future. It makes for better engagement in the big picture, but also in the issues that face your business day by day. Without this engagement we risk the referendum being overtly influenced by tawdry tabloid tag-lines and those extreme yay or naysayers who will vote in all weathers!
In my humble opinion, being ‘in’ takes nothing away from being a ‘Great’ Britain. Becoming ‘Great’ again under our own steam, by exiting the EU, feels like a needless crusade in a world that will no longer tolerate Empire building.
Come what may, challenge yourself and your team to make an well informed decision. That feels a lot like quality leadership. And it is quality leadership, and strong employee engagement, which will carry your business far beyond the referendum no matter what the outcome.
Matt Cockbill, Managing Partner, IT & Technology Leadership, Berwick Partners
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