The Brexit Dilemma. Who’s the prisoner?

The Brexit Dilemma. Who’s the prisoner?

51.9% Leave doesn’t tell the truth. Neither do words from European and UK leaders. The irrational Brexit puts both Europe and UK in a prisoner’s position. Stay or Leave, this is the Dilemma. Even after the Referendum.

I moved to the UK, to London in particular, a bit over a year ago. I left Italy because I thought an international experience would enrich me both personally and professionally. I felt that I was losing confidence in the future and didn’t reflect myself in how the economical, political and cultural instabilities have transformed Italians, a population that I will always admire for its strong values and ability to adapt.

Being in the UK today represents something that I won’t probably experience again for the rest of my life. The most stable country in Europe, whose GBP has grown consistently from 1982 onwards (2009 and 2010 excluded), whose unemployment rate is one of the lowest in Europe, whose currency was exchanged at 40% more than the Euro, whose rating was the highest in the region, suddenly calls for a thoughtless referendum and votes to Leave the EU. It sounds irrational.

Suppose two friends, Europe and the UK, are suspected of committing a crime and are interrogated in separate rooms. They are rational human beings so they both want to minimise their penalty. What is called the prisoner’s dilemma offers multiple scenarios: if only one of them betrays the other, who confesses will be free and who keeps silent will be jailed for 10 years. In case both of them keep silent, they will serve only 1 year in prison. If both confess, both Europe and the UK will be given 5 years of prison. In case of asymmetric information, in absence of communication between the entities, this scenario will always lead to a non efficient situation in which both parties choose to protect themselves at the expense of the other participant. As a result of following a purely logical thought process to help oneself, both participants find themselves in a worse state than if they had cooperated with each other in the decision-making process.

Luckily, Europe and UK are not in two different rooms and have the chance to communicate. But unfortunately they are not in a zero-sum game. If one becomes weaker, the other is likely to become weaker as well and it’s not clear who would benefit from this conflict. This unpromising scenario suggests that Brexit is not the only way, as it’s not an efficient one. The well said and formal words that politicians all over Europe have been communicating following the referendum don’t match mathematical and economical principles on the base of which most of business and political decisions are taken. And despite Prime Minister Cameron and London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan both said that people clearly expressed their choice, a majority of 1.9% doesn’t seem big enough to justify such a big decision, in which not motivated by plan and at least partially based on false information: the £350m pledge to fund the NHS has been declared a mistake by Farage, the higher control of the borders is not likely to happen as Britain wants to access the single market. 17.4m people strong “Leave” was largely based on these two points.

It’s no surprise then that the initial requests by Juncker about UK leaving the EU in the next three months has quickly been calmed down by leaders of Germany, France and Italy who decided against a rapid start for the negotiations. Similar case for JP Morgan Jamie Dimon who first announced that the bank would have moved 16 thousand people in case of Brexit and yesterday said that the bank will maintain a huge presence in London, Bournemouth and Scotland. Again, they are simply rationale.

Therefore, after the first crazy days in which markets panicked much more than expected, there is the general feeling that leaders all over the world have sat down to think strategically about the possible next steps. Sadiq Khan has just named Rajesh Agrawal deputy mayor to protect the City after Brexit. The self-made multi-millionaire who grew up in poverty in India before moving to the UK and making his fortune is the first move of Mr Khan to keep his promise to be the “most pro-business mayor yet”. On the other hand, Boris Johnson has decided to not run for Prime Minister and Nigel Farage is stepping down as leader of the UKIP party. The two main supporters of the Leave campaign have dragged UK down into mess and are now expecting others to pick up the pieces.

Despite markets have slightly calmed down, the equilibrium is far to be reached. Another storm is yet to come. The only hope is that troublemaker leaders will adapt a rational behaviour instead of making it their own battle or their chance of visibility. Farage’s last claim “My political ambition has been achieved” suggests he acted for a battle, not for a vision. Neither Europe nor the UK need heroes, they need not to be prisoners. People don’t need to watch videos of those political leaders screaming in Parliament and insulting each other; people don’t need episodes of racism masked as political discussions. Whatever politicians decide, we will always be citizens of Europe. Democracy is clearly the base of our society, but 51.9% of majority under false information doesn’t lead to a rational and democratic equilibrium. I believe Farage and Leave won the Referendum battle but will lose the Brexit war, in the name of rationality, in the name of the equilibrium.

Photo by Rohan Reddy on Unsplash

The importance of Mentorship and how to get the most out of it

The importance of Mentorship and how to get the most out of it

Mentorship has always been discussed as a controversial topic. Even though everyone acknowledges its importance, very few understand its real essence and take the right actions.

The business world has become and is becoming more and more confusing. The traditional paths are not paying off as they were in the past and new jobs are entering the market every day. In such a fast context, the importance of mentorship remains the same; it just changes in the way it works. Here are my five advices on Mentorship:

1) Mentorship is not only asking for advice. It’s about establishing a long lasting relationship.

Too often people reach out to establish a contact and get a one-off advice, for example, when it comes to a new job offer. Despite the fact that it may still be useful, it is not the best way to get the most out of it. Having a Mentor means having someone to have regular conversations with, someone who knows you time after time and who is in the position of contextualizing the advice you are asking for.

2) Your motivation is what Mentors’ are looking for.

This slightly depends on the type of people you are speaking with. In my experience it’s not difficult to find mentors, even when you are not directly related to that person. People are happy to give (back, if possible) and their satisfaction is to see determination, motivation and results in the person they are helping. Be angry and grateful, this is all Mentors look for.

3) You shouldn’t see having a Mentor as a fast-track.

You have to be honest; if you are asking a senior person to become your Mentor, you have to believe that his mentorship will benefit you and you have to be sure you will learn. Of course it’s your chance to be visible and make others’ know you better, but your conviction should come first. Don’t be sneaky, it won’t bring you anywhere.

4) Ask, ask and ask.

Business evolves fast. A lot of today’s most common jobs didn’t exist 10 years ago. In this uncertainty, the only thing you can do is ask to learn and be curious. Your Mentor is a resource of information, but you won’t understand the importance of all of them during the conversation. Wait a bit, the knowledge you acquire will be relevant at some point.

5) Don’t trust everything you are told.

I learnt that it’s not a matter of good or bad advice, but mostly a matter of how that advice applies to you. It’s very likely that you receive two opposite advices from two mentors — no worries, it’s normal. Instead of taking the advice as it is, try to understand the vision your mentor has and how that advice helps you align to that vision. Then take your decision.

Meeting Customers’ Expectations

Meeting Customers’ Expectations

How can you exceed customer expectations? First you need to know what their expectations are. When it comes to expecting certain performance and functionality from your product or service, you need to make sure you can deliver on the “speeds and feeds” that you sold your customers. However, there are more basic expectations that are not related to your product or service that need to be met, or even exceeded. More deals are lost because, in spite of how great your product may be, the customer’s basic needs were not met.

So, what are these customer expectations? What do customers really want? Here are 7 things that customers want.

1. To be respected — Don’t treat me like a fool. Don’t act like I’m stupid. Don’t discount what I have to say. I want to be treated with respect.

2. Fair price for a quality product — When it comes right down to it, doesn’t it make plain sense that customers should receive a quality product or service for a fair price? Of course it does. But why does this become so difficult at times. I paid good money for your product and it’s not performing the way you advertised it.

3. Fairness — I also want to be treated fairly. That doesn’t mean I’ll always get what I want. Sometimes what I want is not possible, feasible or reasonable.

4. Empathy — When I need help in purchasing an item or when I call a company because of a problem with their product, I want them to show a little empathy, or understanding. I want them to put themselves in my situation so they can understand my situation — walk in my shoes.

5. Information — I can’t make an intelligent decision unless I have the facts and information in order to do so.

6. Someone to understand my needs — This is a close kin to empathy. It’s a step further, though, since it means that I want someone to own my problem. If I ask a sales person for help, I don’t want to be dumped on someone else.

7. Someone I can trust — When you say you’ll get back to me, you’d better get back to me. When you say you’ll handle my request, it better be handled. When you say your product will do something, it better do it. Otherwise, I will lose trust in you. When you start building trust with your customers, then you are also building respect.

Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash

Stay Simple — the 3Bs framework

Stay Simple — the 3Bs framework

The relationship report-manager is never obvious. 1:1 meetings generally create more questions than the one they answer, and it’s rarely clear what the right level of depth is.

At Procter&Gamble, I learned something really useful to conduct productive meetings, avoid micromanagement, and win as a team: the 3B’s framework.

My team decided that every weekly report-manager or skip level meeting, at every level of the organization, had to be structured in 3 points:

What’s Big:
does it really make any difference to focus on small things that are not going to make any difference? Even more important, are they worth the time of 2 (or more) people? Focus on something impactful, something big!

What’s Broken:
is there any problem, something that should be fixed? Let’s discuss it with someone above you; you will (most likely) be able to repair faster.

What’s Breakthrough:
how could we do something completely new, that can really improve our competitive positioning in the market?

I advise to use this scheme in both business and personal life; is pretty simple and makes you save a lot of time and effort; rarely we read about something we can action tomorrow.