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Building better relationships in interesting times

LSCA President Helen Brennan believes building relationships will be the key strategy to help thrive in the current ‘interesting times’.

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Helen Brennan

March 2019

With 29 March 2019, the date on which the UK is set to leave the EU, approaching rapidly, and with the prospect of reaching a withdrawal agreement appearing less likely every day, it seems as if the ‘interesting times’ I’ve been referring to over the last eight months have finally come to a head.

I’m wondering which of the strategies I identified last June for thriving in the year ahead - identifying and managing risks, taking opportunities, collaborating to achieve the common good, and building relationships - can best help us cope with the ground rush we’re experiencing.

I believe all four strategies remain key – not just to thriving now, but also to facilitating growth in the UK economy after 29 March. However, for me it is investing in relationships that is that most vital.

I’ve recently been inspired by meeting Ron Huntley, one of the leaders of the Divine Renovation Network who said that all great movements that have impacted the world have come out of not just great ideas but great relationships. At first, this seemed like no more than a good sound bite, but the more I thought about it, the more examples I could come up with of two being better than one:

  • to science: Watson and Crick 
  • to music: Lennon and McCartney 
  • to technology: Hewlett and Packard
  • to the sweeter, creamier things in life: Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield 

Leading change begins with the first person you inspire, the first heart you win. So, if you want to get the most out of your time, both at work and outside work, it’s worth choosing to invest time in growing relationships.

For chartered accountants, it can be tempting to see our involvement with the organisations we lead and advise as a series of transactions. Looking through a purely transactional lens, the heightened risk associated with Brexit would make many or most people reluctant to invest; and we can see this reality in the data published by the Office of National Statistics at the end of 2018, indicating that investment by UK companies has fallen for three consecutive quarters.

In my view, the one area where we can and should continue to invest with confidence and certainty of return, not in spite of the volatile times, but because of them, is in the right relationships.

Helen Brennan is LSCA President.

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