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Business academic’s Brexit survival guide

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Published on 03 April 2018

Dr Derek Watson's top tips for businesses preparing for Brexit
Dr Derek Watson's top tips for businesses preparing for Brexit

Dr Derek Watson, a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism, believes all organisations need to begin their own ‘internal audit’, ‘strengthen their leadership, declutter, streamline and make their business model as agile as possible’ as the country prepares for the uncertainty of Brexit.

With fears over a lack of investment and growth once the EU-UK trade deal and other aspects of the future relationship are agreed, Dr Watson, has produced his definitive top 10 survival guide to support businesses once Brexit is finalised on March 29 2019.

Dr Watson, whose areas of research expertise include Innovation & Technology Transfer, Transformational Change and Changing Mind-sets recently presented his views on the implications of Brexit and how to manage change at the LEAP Summit in Zagreb, Croatia, which brings business experts from all over the world at one place to learn together in order to solve the most pressing challenges of our time.

He says: “Right now organisations are trying to cope with the uncertainty of Brexit. But what businesses want is some clear direction and what they need is stability, if they haven’t got stability – there’s uncertainty, and where there is uncertainty there is lack of investment and growth!

“It’s a mess, but it’s also about making the best of the worst deal, we can’t hide from it and the key is to make sure your business is as resilient to the uncertainty as possible and flexible enough to adapt to change. I have drawn on my own research and expertise over a number of years to produce a guide which could help bring that flexibility for change.”

The Brexit Enigma: Top 10 tips for UK Businesses

  1. Leadership Comfort Blanket

          - Any change process will fail if employees don’t feel protected or supported by the organisations leadership

  1. Inclusive Organic Strategic Plan

          - Organisations who don’t involve all staff do so at their peril

  1. Same Page Management Style

          -  A Key factor to failure is mixed or conflicting management styles

  1. Foster a Cultural  Change Thermostat

          - Management need to realise the effects and their ownership of turning up or down culture

  1. Organisational Declutter

          - If you are going to drive change, declutter wasteful systems and passengers

  1. Training & Development with Connectivity

          - What is the problem with linking training / development with immediate organisational needs

  1. Drive a Suggestions   System

          - Two or more heads are always better than one when it comes to innovative solutions

  1. Embed  a Reward Rubric without a Money Emphasis

          - Real commitment comes through non-monetary motivational techniques

  1. Walk the Communications

          - Nothing beats a Sunday morning walk to get a feel if we are on mission

  1. Emanate Resilience

          - Resilience is critical not just for staff but for supply chain and prospecting customers   

About Dr Derek Watson

 Dr Watson is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, founder of the Faculty ‘Business Clinic’ and the Doctoral lead for the University’s ‘Research Fridays’ programme. Dr Watson has experience of mapping skills requirements in emerging sectors. He also has extensive links and networks as a result of sourcing and embedding external engagement opportunities across the curriculum, with an international portfolio of clients and contacts, such as the British Cabinet Office, Indian Government Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Dubai Police and Canon International.

 He was also recently appointed as the first Senior Research Fellow at a new Centre for Business Research in Cyprus, as part of a wider global team.


LEAP Summit is a three-day conference, which gathers more than 2,000 changemakers from more than 30 countries who are leaders in their respective communities. LEAP Summit brings people from all over the world at one place to learn together in order to solve most pressing challenges of our time.