Renegotiating Brexit – how could it have been done differently?
03 Jul 2019
It could have been so different. On 29 March 2017, the UK formally triggered Article 50 and the two-year countdown to leaving the EU began. On 27 March 2019, MPs were given the chance to indicate preferences on 8 potential options for the UK’s future relationship with the EU.
That means 728 days were spent pursuing an option without understanding the range of views of those voting on it. As a result, we’re now 2 months after our scheduled departure date, and as the Conservative leadership campaign continues, there is no majority view on what the future should be.
So how could Theresa May have gained a majority vote amongst a group of individuals with polarised views?
Picture an alternative scenario where, on 30 March 2017, all MPs were polled on their views on the most significant areas of the future relationship. This poll wouldn’t be in the form of yes/no answers, but rather a scale in which they are able to demonstrate the strength of their personal conviction. The questions would be asked with no advance notice; removing political positioning & the formal nature of a parliamentary vote. Then, over a number of subsequent polls, the range of views on each issue would be narrowed to remove outliers and those who have changed their position based on discussions. Facilitating a full understanding of the range of views and relative importance of different issues may have helped to narrow the debate quicker.
Had this approach been adopted, it’s much more conceivable that after 728 days, a consensus would have been reached on any future relationship much more effectively. And we’ve got examples to prove it.
If only they’d used Periskope…
Brexit isn’t the only situation that involves a number of individuals coming together to make a decision on a complex matter. The world of pensions is not short of complexity, with Trustee boards and governance committees regularly facing decisions impacting on the financial futures of millions of employees across the UK. Using our Periskope tool we’ve been facilitating better decision-making with our clients on a number of areas, from end game planning and strategy, to ESG beliefs and trustee effectiveness.
Differences in opinions and experience of course arise, but by facilitating a quality conversation we can quickly get to the heart of the issue and reach agreement on the way forward. We’ve also found that the use of Periskope reduces common decision-making biases such as Anchoring or Groupthink, because each individual has an equal voice with no initial response to build around. Don’t just take our word for it – Harvard Business Review have also run an article this month highlighting that digital polling can result in better decision making.
We’re certainly not suggesting we have a “silver bullet” to fix Brexit. Whilst a consensus may be reached within one group, there are a number of external factors that can determine the final outcome. However, a negotiation tends to result in a better outcome when you know what you are asking for. Perhaps our government could take note!