Charlotte Street Partners

SPECIAL BRIEFINGS

UK-EU TRADE DEAL UPDATES

Charlotte Street Partners is issuing a weekly update of the key developments and analysis about the prospects for a deal on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, as the UK exits the single market and customs union on terms (or no terms) as yet to be determined.

after Furlough

The UK government is beginning to flick off the switch across a range of ‘life support schemes’ while attempting to reignite a mothballed economy and chart the course of the country’s future as an independent trading nation after Brexit. The harsh reality is that many businesses will be forced to adapt, shrink in size or restructure to meet changing demand. 
 
With this in mind, this paper considers the economic context and offers some practical guidance for those taking difficult decisions – how to do so sensitively and while keeping an eye on reputation and public standing in the long run. Crucially, we have also given some thought to what effective team management looks like against a new cultural backdrop.

REFORM WITHOUT MONEY

This crisis has brought about change in most of our businesses and organisations. From fundamental strategic resets to a new understanding of how we engage with physical spaces, we are all adapting to meet the demands of a changed, and changing, environment.
 
But what does better look like? And how can we reform beyond cost-cutting to create enduring and sustainable businesses that prioritise people over process?
 
These are the questions we try to answer in our latest thought piece: reform without money. Using some incredible case studies, we outline our toolkit for change designed to shake up traditional power structures, unlock the lesser heard voices in businesses and bring about sustainable, lasting reform.

COVID-19 AND THE ECONOMY

Our consulting partner Paul Gray reminded us this week that whirlpools are formed when two opposing currents meet, and that a whirlpool with a downdraft is a vortex. At best, they are dangerous; at worst, deadly. We now face a whirlpool that must be navigated. But are we to continue in a way which treats the protection of health and the recovery of the economy as opposing currents, inevitably increasing the risk of failure?

Today we publish our second analysis of the outlook for the economy following our April paper. We welcome a guest contribution from our friend David Skilling on the global picture.

If you read to the end you will see that we believe we can and will escape the pull of the whirlpool. Positive leadership is at a premium now but it will represent our only hope.

NAVIGATING WITHOUT A MAP

The Kübler-Ross model, as applied to business, is useful in identifying and predicting emotions at this undoubtably stressful time. These emotions do not necessarily present themselves in a linear fashion, and we can oscillate between as we undergo various degrees of lockdown. We have tried to illustrate this with a series of graphs, which we hope you find useful and interesting. 

CONTINGENCY PLANNING AND RESILIENCE

Contingency planning – the process of anticipating problems before they have occurred and preparing your organisation to withstand those setbacks – goes well beyond documenting a list of potential risks. It requires teams to engage with each other honestly, to admit and accept vulnerabilities, to think creatively, lean on their values, and to be willing to learn from their mistakes. It is rarely a straightforward endeavour, but always worthwhile, contributing as it does to greater individual and organisational resilience, an attribute that is prominent in most successful businesses.

Given the scale of the global uncertainty we are experiencing currently, it is reasonable to assume – and hope – that organisations are engaged very actively in planning for a range of potential scenarios and outcomes. The precise nature of those exercises will differ, naturally, from one organisation to the next, so we offer in the document attached some general principles, reflections and insight that we hope will provide stimulus and support to inform your own work in building resilience and preparedness.

TOWARDS AND AWAY FROM

During these strange times we are all being forced to think about motivation. How we motivate ourselves each day and how others at home and at work motivate us.

Discussion around how we help our clients motivate their teams and their businesses are what drives us and we want to share some of our thinking with you in the hope that it helps you. So, with the support of consulting Partner Paul Gray, we have prepared the below briefing with an insight into what is described in the neuro-linguistic programming mental model as a “towards” or “away from” pattern. 

As Paul rightly observes, organisations need clear objectives and a clear sense of purpose; but they also need effective risk assessment and risk mitigation strategies. The problem is that crises such as the one we find ourselves in, tend to drive the towards and away from people further into their preferred styles – sometimes in completely different directions, chasing different goals.

We exist to be an objective partner, helping you to navigate this unprecedented set of circumstances and to support you to make best use of the assets you have, to consider how decisions will impact the long-term and build resilience and a sustainable future. 

Towards or away from? Each have their place in business, in society and in life. Bringing them back together to work as one toward a defined objective, is the core of the challenge we face.

Given the scale of the global uncertainty we are experiencing currently, it is reasonable to assume – and hope – that organisations are engaged very actively in planning for a range of potential scenarios and outcomes. The precise nature of those exercises will differ, naturally, from one organisation to the next, so we offer in the document attached some general principles, reflections and insight that we hope will provide stimulus and support to inform your own work in building resilience and preparedness.

ECONOMIC BRIEF

This week the public conversation in the UK has begun to balance economic considerations alongside the health emergency. As forecasts of the economic impact emerged, we also have the first articulation from the EU of what the lifting of restrictions may look like and their potential phasing. No such picture has yet emerged from the UK government.

We thought it was therefore a useful point at which to offer our own analysis of what is going on in the economy, what we think will happen next, and the implications for strategies being considered by policymakers, business leaders, and others. Much of the framing of this paper was inspired by a conversation we facilitated this week with John Kay and Mervyn King on their book Radical Uncertainty. They encouraged us all to eschew spurious forecast precision and simply ask the big question: “What is going on here?” We have tried to do just that.

WORKING WELL

The lines between work and wellbeing have most definitely blurred these last few weeks and, while pottering around in my Birkenstocks every day is a welcome break from killer heels, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss putting on the old work persona every now and then. She is currently gathering dust along with my handbags.

What about you? How are you doing? 

It’s really the only question that matters, and it’s probably the only one that ever did.

But of all the UN Sustainable Development Goals, health and wellbeing is taking the biggest hit from this crisis, and the effects of that will reverberate for a long time in unpredictable and complex ways. 

So what can we do as businesses and good citizens to prevent a wellbeing crisis in the workplace? And how can we identify and support those already struggling with physical or mental health problems, at a distance?

Here are some of our thoughts about people and how we can look after each other now and into the future.

A SUSTAINABLE ROADMAP FOR THE UK

Countries across the globe are beginning to prepare for the reopening of society and the economy. Our thoughts are below, and we hope they will help you as you begin your own planning. We have looked at different aspects of emerging from lockdown including what we can learn from other countries, what this means for the UK economy, and how businesses and organisations can navigate it all. Do get in touch for more detailed and tailored support and insight.

What about you? How are you doing? 

It’s really the only question that matters, and it’s probably the only one that ever did.

But of all the UN Sustainable Development Goals, health and wellbeing is taking the biggest hit from this crisis, and the effects of that will reverberate for a long time in unpredictable and complex ways. 

So what can we do as businesses and good citizens to prevent a wellbeing crisis in the workplace? And how can we identify and support those already struggling with physical or mental health problems, at a distance?

Here are some of our thoughts about people and how we can look after each other now and into the future.

COMMUNICATING THE CORONAVIRUS JOB RETENTION SCHEME

This document aims to support your communications as you navigate the government job retention scheme with your staff.

We offer some practical guidance around employee engagement, external reputation management and preparing for the re-entry of your workforce. Should you need further insight on specific issues, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

ACCESSING GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

The below PDF summarises how businesses impacted by Covid-19 can access government support. It is routinely updated to reflect changing guidance. 

REMOTE WORKING GUIDE

Below is a short practical guide to use with your teams as you adjust to full-time remote working.

The purpose of this guide is to provide tools and advice in three main areas:

  • Keeping teams informed and engaged

  • Managing day-to-day life

  • Facing the future

We hope that this guide will be useful for supporting specific teams who may need extra support as well as for whole businesses where appropriate.

Copyright© 2020 Charlotte Street Partners