The general consensus of the recent election is one of real positivity with a more diverse Assembly, fresh faces but also real experience. As I write this article the Assembly have just voted in Deputy Moore as our new Chief Minister with a very strong mandate. In the voting process it was so refreshing to hear both Deputies Moore and Mezec both emphasise how we need to work collaboratively to understand and deal with the real challenges we face.
For me Jersey’s core strength in periods of change/ uncertainty should be our ability to bring all the stakeholders together, across business sectors, public / private bodies etc, make informed choices and then focus on excellent delivery. Through real collaboration, listening to opposing and different perspectives, then acting decisively, means better outcomes.
This is how successful businesses are created, develop and continue to grow, they understand their changing markets, they have excellent customer relations and their staff are highly engaged. Focus on these three core strengths and strong financial performance flows.
From a business perspective we have what is probably one of the most challenging environments with escalating costs, supply chain issues, recruitment challenges and a volatile global environment. Add to that the fact that we have been through a global pandemic, the growing fall out of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, climate crisis etc. we truly need a Government that welcomes input and ideas from all the stakeholders of Jersey plc
As an example one of the key challenges is recruitment not only in industries such as Hospitality, Retail , Construction and Rural but also across Finance &, Digital- we are losing existing talent to other jurisdictions and it is becoming much harder for our younger talent to return and bring their skills back home.
The solution is… well there isn’t a single solution but critically it does need Government to lead in bringing together the key stakeholders, helping facilitate the optimum strategies and where necessary prioritising the delivery/ investment required. This needs to cover skills, population and immigration policy, Living wage initiatives as well as cost of housing (social, keyworker and workforce housing).
Collaboration does not mean we have to have 100% consensus. In most instances we will agree on the vast majority of what needs to be done it’s the last 5/10% that often means decisions are delayed and put off. In the business world you simply won’t survive with indecision, better to progress with pace on the 90/95%, remain agile, adapt when necessary and at all times keep communicating two ways with all stakeholders.
Yes, being decisive comes with some risk, successful businesses simply manage their risks in an informed way but do not allow it to stifle innovation. How a business deals with issues or where something goes wrong is often informative about the organisational culture, do they learn and adapt or do they penalise and retrench.
During Covid the best example of this to me was the delivery of the Nightingale Hospital. This was Jersey at it’s best and showed how in a crisis, the Construction Sector as whole could work in a truly collaborative way, Government across various Departments could operate at pace and decisively, issues raised were not allowed to be blocks as they had to come with a recommended best solution. This was simply the only way a temporary Hospital could be delivered and gave us the insurance policy we needed to manage the worst health crisis in living memory. The fact that it wasn’t actually used is not the point to me, with any insurance policy you don’t want to experience the actual event you are insuring against.
So for me there is a real opportunity with a new Assembly, a new Government for all the stakeholders of Jersey plc to play our part, be collaborative, be decisive, be brave and to deliver for all our whole community.
I am really optimistic we can address the challenges we face and come through stronger, at Jersey Business we will absolutely play our part.