EU Referendum Result – Two Types of Player

Jamie Livingston, Founding Director of the Livingston James Group, discusses the fallout from the Brexit decision.

When I used to play rugby there were two types of player. Those, when faced with decisions they didn’t like that stopped playing and threw their hands in the air shouting expletives and those who carried on playing and looked to the possible future opportunities.

From the perspective of a bulky front five forward, a pertinent example being a whippet-like winger taking a quick tap penalty on their own try line – but the team’s commitment to making the best of the situation once a decision has been made often turned a (subjectively) questionable decision into a length of the field try or at very least avoided the pyrrhic victory of “I told you so” as the winger was ceremoniously dumped on their backside over their own try line.

In tight situations, those who kept on playing were the people who won you matches and they did not stand out necessarily because of their ability, but rather for their attitude to keep playing when a questionable decision was made. They knew the game would continue and like it or not their only choice was around their attitude and commitment to play on.

Now drawing comparison between a quick tap penalty on your own try line and voting to leave the EU may be a stretch, however the analogy does hold when we look at how people react when faced with a decision that they don’t like – of their own making or otherwise.

Exploring the metaphor a little from a business perspective, it would appear clear that there is a large proportion of the business community in Scotland and London who were in favour of remaining in the EU. The danger is that we throw our hands in the air shouting expletives and the next two years become the pyrrhic victory of “I told you so” as we are dumped on our backsides.

Alternatively, we commit to the decision now and keep playing, looking for the opportunities that will undoubtedly present themselves. This may not lead to the length of the field try the leave campaign have painted, but it will certainly help us avoid the worst case scenario.

There will be appropriate time to question the decision, and there will be an opportunity to be part of the conversation around future relationship with Europe. In the meantime, we need to make decisions and “play on”.

So no matter how people voted, we now have another decision, either keep playing and commit to making the best of the situation or to throw our hands in the air shouting expletives.

The game will continue regardless.

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