As we near the end of another year, I think we would all agree that the events of 2016 were hugely significant; it is a year that will be remembered and studied for generations to come.
There have been political, social and economic surprises a-plenty.
In the U.K. We have seen a referendum that resulted in a decision to leave the EU.
In the USA an unlikely presidential nominee went on to become president elect and will be moving into the White House in 2017.
And from the start of 2016 some of the world’s best known celebrities sadly left us.
What’s striking about some of these things is the complete surprise with which the results were received, by both established institutions like the media and the public in general.
Particularly in the case of the EU Referendum and the US presidential election, there were only two possible outcomes, so why did no one seem prepared?
Resilience through PESTLE
Although 2016 has been a year of significant change close to home, in these globalised times organisations have always been vulnerable to external events in the world.
Perhaps that’s why some of the most successful and resilient companies are smaller forward thinking firms who can react quickly to change and are less exposed to the direct impacts of such events.
However all businesses should be monitoring the Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental affairs, in the context of their organisation, in order to take a considered approach to what ever may come – particularly where the outcome is one of two options.
This fits well with structured management systems where organisations are required to consider changes to the business and their interested parties.
While some outcomes may seem unlikely, taking the time to consider the ‘what ifs’ cannot only minimise the impact if it does happen but also maintain the confidence of stakeholders by avoiding ill-considered communications.
Proactive not Reactive
There were plenty of examples of knee-jerk reactions shortly after recent political events.
Some people immediately decided they were leaving their respective countries – only for that still not to materialise some months later.
This unpredictability can be damaging to those who rely on you and should be avoided.
Consider how financial markets react to any uncertainty and you can see that a similar localised effect is easy to create around staff, customers and suppliers who are essential to your business.
Things may be tough but they are not impossible and having the buy-in of interested parties to work together for a positive outcome can make all the difference.
There are many management system standards focused on various risk areas but they generally all share the common Annex SL structure, which provides a perfect platform on which to build business processes that can be scaled easily.
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