Austerity isn’t even over yet, and we have voted to begin the Time of Uncertainty. No one knows how long it will last, how it will go, or where we will end up.
You might feel like Damon Albarn at Glastonbury, that ‘Democracy failed … because it was lied to’. Or you might feel like Dave Roberts at Manchester Metropolitan University, that ‘this is a time of reconciliation’. Or you might not feel much of anything at all. We all have our own take on the situation as we try to make sense of what has happened.
Emotions are running high
The uncertainty is not just political, commercial or financial. It’s emotional too. Our responses will vary. Some of us will shrug it off. Others may respond as though it’s a bereavement. Most of us will be somewhere in the middle. It’s a time of uncertainty, but it’s also a time of anxiety, elation, guilt, frustration, anger, blame and despair. The whole gamut of emotions, in fact. But however people feel, the one thing business leaders won’t be able to do is to sweep these emotions under the carpet. Everyone in the business will need guidance and support. How are you going to provide that to your people over the next few years?
What to do?
Rationalising events won’t even begin to deal with the emotional issues. That just annoys everyone.
Saying that everything will be alright won’t work either. We all know that no one knows how this will turn out, and anyone who claims that they do will just show up as a liar.
The Leave campaign encouraged us to ‘Take back control’. It seems more than a little ironic that everything now seems to be completely out of control. Certainly, the current situation is unprecedented, which means that there is no rule book for how to deal with it.
Say goodbye to normal
Normal, in fact, the entire rulebook, has been thrown out the window and shredded by the winds of change.
It’s time for some fresh thinking.