“We live in interesting times”. No doubt this is a phrase that has been mentioned in countless boardrooms across the Western World over the last 6 months or so. With Article 50 due to be invoked in March of next year and elections in France and Germany likely to provide further evidence of the rise of popular nationalist movements, it doesn’t look like 2017 will be any less turbulent from a political perspective.
Leaving aside one’s own political beliefs, the turbulence associated with the fraying of the neo-liberal consensus in recent times provides a particularly interesting challenge to businesses both large and small. We often hear how business “hate’s uncertainty” or the fear of the “known unknowns”.
Traditional thinking has dictated that, on the whole, business waits for clarity in terms of the political and economic direction the country is heading in before deciding to invest. Indeed as Sir Martin Sorrell – CEO of WPP – recently opined, there has been a tendency since 2009 to be reticent about investment all together. Businesses across a broad range of sectors have slashed investment and focused on costs which has had an undeniable effect of productivity – a problem which is particularly acute in the UK.
If 2016 has shown us anything it is that it will be near impossible to predict the socio-political and macro-economic picture across the West in the coming years. There is also no timescales on when this uncertainty will end with some commentator predicting 15 years plus of negotiating an agreement on Brexit. Business simply can’t afford not to invest while waiting for clarity that might never come.
If we accept this lack of clarity as “the new normal” then what should we in the business community do? As ever, good businesses with sound investment strategies will thrive. Unperturbed by global uncertainty and liberal melancholy they recognise that the underlying strength of their services is as a result of investment in innovation and a constant desire to be better. The real truth is we need to invest to get better and that only the best businesses will survive this period of rapid change.
There are some fantastic examples of innovation and investment across a range of law firms and legal disciplines in recent times. Legal businesses which are investing in this way and who have clients with whom their approach to investment is aligned will succeed. A key element of investment for law firms is their people strategy whether that be recruitment, retention, training or re-deployment.
As niche legal recruiters we continue to operate in a forward thinking way. We challenge ourselves and the professionals we assist to be better. We don’t sell simple solutions or half-truths. We don’t shy away from difficult conversations but always aim to be constructive and consultative to law firms and legal professionals alike. We listen to the people to whom we do business with – share their concerns and celebrate their successes. We align ourselves with the best in our industry and we continue to invest in ourselves and the people we work with or for.
By continually investing in this way we believe we will continue to be productive for the professionals upon which our business is based. Striving to be the best will help us navigate these uncertain times.