So today, the day when we leave the European Union (EU) has arrived and now the real work begins. It may be seen as stating the obvious, however, it can’t be overemphasised that while we leave the EU, I trust we will always be an integral part of Europe. The transition period will be key to coming to an agreement with the EU to ensure this happens though.
For those that voted for Brexit, I not only hope our departure from the EU brings all the positive things that you anticipated when you cast your vote, I hope and indeed pray that the outcomes are even more positive. You’ve had a long wait for this day to come and so you unquestionably have every right to celebrate. I do hope that you find it within you to do so with a sensitivity towards those that see today as a day of mourning as they face the day with a deep sense of loss. As you celebrate, it is indeed essential for you to be cognisant of the feelings of deep loss if you ever want us to unite and move forward together…. as brothers and sisters.
For those that never wanted this to happen, that have dreaded this day with a sense that this will be disastrous for Britain and draw us backwards; it will take some time, however, I hope that time will prove you to be wrong, leading you to eventually feel better about today. I hope that for everything that may go wrong, that you will also see some positives and be able to bring yourselves to appreciate and even celebrate the successes. On the other hand, if some of your predictions of things going wrong come to pass, I hope that you are able to focus not on the fact that you said so, but on what we need to do to pull together and move forward for it is still the country of all of us and we are therefore all stakeholders.
Now the die has been cast, at 23:00hrs we leave the EU and enter the transition period during which we will need to work to redefine our relationship with the EU and to unilaterally define our relationships on the Global stage – hopefully to the benefit not just of the country, but also the citizens within it. The transition period is also crucial for us to work in preparation for the next stage of our history.
Talking of work, there will be changes to the workplace. It was changing already with changes in working practices; and the impact of robotics and AI. I believe our departure from the EU will enhance some of those changes and create new changes such as who will be both willing and able to work here; how we marry the use of humans with technology; and how we develop local talent. This will lead to deeper challenges than what we have faced with areas such as skills shortages and employability; it will also lead to opportunities to review how we look at work and the workplace.
Brexit Britain will need successful companies to present successful industries to the world to help attract great trade deals. Successful companies need a mosaic of great people to be truly effective.
We’ve had skilled people leave the UK because they’ve felt unappreciated due to Brexit and don’t like the mindset presented to them. How do we ensure that people see Britain as a destination of choice in a global market? More specifically how do you ensure they see your organisation as an organisation of choice?
As for local talent, it’s not just about upskilling people to take on more senior or technical positions. My mum always taught me that everyone is important in whatever role they take on in society. It’s why I talk of Human Value Optimisation and why we need to get back to a place where we recognise the value of work at all levels and in all parts of society so that people are appreciated and not looked down on as less in whatever area they find to put their hands to that ultimately adds value to society.
Fundamentally it’s crucial to ensure that every citizen both sees themselves as and is seen as someone with a valuable role to play within the workplace and wider society whether they voted to leave or remain… or even didn’t vote at all. If they are not accepted, appreciated and valued, how can we say their lives are better? For that is the true test of Brexit – that people’s lives are better in every possible way.