With Brexit nearer on the horizon and lots of change and uncertainty looming over the U.K. (and in fact the world!) lately, it's pivotal to understand how human beings respond to the threat of change and how this affects productivity and ultimately performance in the workplace.


As human beings, when things feel familiar, orderly, structured and fairly predictable, we can operate at normal and productive levels. We can manage our stress levels well. This helps us perform well.


However when there is a change to the normal order and predictability of things in our environment, such as our workload changing; or we have to report to a new manager; or we have a change in responsibility; or that the company is going through a restructure; or even bigger- a merger or acquisition; or even bigger will be implicated by Brexit, if we don't have adequate coping skills, these changes (however big or small) may represent a potential 'threat' or danger to our survival and we are likely to find ourselves in one of these 4 'trauma states':

1. FLIGHT mode (I.e : running away from the problem and not dealing with it;

2. FIGHT mode (i.e. Becoming aggressive or defensive over things);

3. FREEZE mode (not doing anything and just staying stuck)

4. SUBMIT mode (saying yes to things when we really mean no).


The longer we stay in these not so rational states of mind, the more detrimental the effects will be on our productivity and performance and worse, our mental and physical health will be compromised.


Whatever the change, macro or micro, business leaders need to plan ahead and make sure that they have competent and skilled people working alongside them to help them manage these kinds of transitions


Without the right people or measures in place to help us manage that change, then stress levels may be heightened and have a knock on effect to productivity and ultimately performance levels.


A solid talent management and development strategy is needed in order for businesses to continue to be productive and not only survive through this climate of monumental change but also thrive.