060 RCI 0517

RCI May 2017

FLAT ROOFING & WATERPROOFING When searching for an analogy to illustrate the current political and economic climate and our place within it, I was struck by the idea of a party. Hear me out… It’s a conundrum we’ve all had. You’re uncertain about whether to go to this party. Will you have a good time? Some will choose to go and see what happens, embracing opportunity to have a good time – and most likely will. Those who stay at home will perhaps feel like they’ve missed out, having a bad time even though they didn’t go. In uncertain times, we react in different ways. We also tend to look at our businesses differently. This can depend on company performance, but more likely is a result of who we are, our past Opportunities in uncertain times Charles Pierce, head of sales for single ply membranes at Sika, explains why uncertainty can equal opportunity rather than anxiety for construction businesses experiences, and our response to risk. When we feel uncertain, it is human nature to protect ourselves. Such a response is likely informed by a biological instinct. Interestingly, studies have shown that people would rather definitely receive an electric shock now than maybe receive an electric shock later, and show a larger nervous system reaction when waiting for an unexpected shock than an expected one. Here’s the basic psychological conclusion – and one most of us already know – humans prefer certainty to uncertainty. Our fear of uncertainty often urges us towards irrational behaviour. Such activity does little to ease our anxiety and may even serve to increase it. Pair this instinct with another well recognised response – fight or flight – and you have a potential recipe for disaster when it comes to reacting to uncertainty in business. It’s likely to cause actions like reducing marketing spend, cutting investment in new technologies or products and pausing recruitment drives. We see uncertainty in areas affecting the construction industry currently, such as Brexit negotiations and the looming snap General Election. Inevitably these conditions may lead to private investment in new schemes and projects being reduced, and businesses hunkering down in response. Brexit is a process, rather than an event, and when we reach its subsequent chapters, uncertainty is likely to continue and affect the economy. Charles Pierce: “In uncertain times, we react in different ways. We also tend to look at our businesses differently. This can depend on company performance, but more likely is a result of who we are, our past experiences, and our response to risk” “I would argue, that we must keep our focus on what we can control and affect without being too concerned on areas which we cannot influence”


RCI May 2017
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