Operating globally in a time of political instability

by Jo Osborne, General Manager

Published on
April 4, 2019

In today’s always-on news environment, it’s hard to escape the fact we’re currently facing political and economic instability on a global scale.

President Trump’s foreign trade threats and controversial border wall policy, the UK Brexit omnishambles, and increasingly violent ‘yellow vest’ demonstrations in France have created an internationally volatile political climate.

And while political stability among Australia’s trading partners closer to home in the Asia Pacific is appreciably calmer, the ripple effect of uncertainty in some of the world’s largest economies is being felt by local businesses operating or looking to expand overseas.

As a result, it is increasingly difficult for business to predict how foreign markets might respond.

Should they forge ahead with expansion plans in the hope that calm heads will prevail and international markets will steady, or sit tight and wait for the storm to pass?

What are the implications for projects and initiatives already underway? Is it worth fast-tracking plans to get ahead of any flow-on effects, or adopt a more cautious, go-slow approach?

Now more than ever, data and informed insights are providing business with the knowledge to make informed decisions, and understand potential risks and opportunities.

However, even the best data-harvesting tools and most sophisticated algorithms can’t replace the value of on-the-ground insights from business leaders already navigating the complex waters of international markets.

At Rowland, we’ve also felt the effects of global instability while working off-shore.

And while we are lucky to have detailed sentiment analysis and data-harvesting tools at our fingertips, during this uncertain time we’ve also come to rely on our network of colleagues working overseas to help us make sense of it all.

Our partnership with global communication group FleishmanHillard enables us to make more informed decisions in relation to our own business, as well as provide better advice to clients already operating or looking to expand overseas.

With access to an international network of 85 offices, plus 20+ affiliates and more than 3,000 people worldwide, the FleishmanHillard network gives us unparalleled access to advisors who can make sense of the uncertainty, see around the corners, and provide informed advice about key industries and policy decisions.

However, the one constant over recent months is the unpredictable and rapidly changing nature of offshore markets. Regular testing, re-testing and checking-in to understand the latest developments remains key.

It’s always a ‘work in progress’, however, with deep and informed insights at our fingertips, we are better informed than ever and encourage other businesses to adopt a similar approach to remaining informed.