The political and economic uncertainty of Brexit has certainly grabbed the attention of most UK businesses recently. While government and business leaders try to navigate their way through Brexit talks and strategies, another big change in the operating environment has quickly come upon us: the dreaded GDPR.

GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulation, came into full force last week. There is plenty of contradictory information about what impact GDPR will have on businesses, so leadership teams need to ensure their organisations are ready to thrive in a GDPR-compliant world.

As well as ensuring organisations are compliant with  the legal requirements of GDPR (it is worth seeking legal advice for this specific to your business), there are some core principles of GDPR that highlight how organisations which exhibit certain characteristics and attitudes are likely to thrive under GDPR.

  1. Transparency

Transparency is at the heart of GDPR. It encourages businesses to be transparent about what data they collect about people and how they use it. This helps ensure personal, and often sensitive, data is not being misused. The collapse of Cambridge Analytica and the discomfort of Mark Zuckerberg show what can happen when companies get it wrong. Leaders can support this principle by ensuring they foster a company culture that is open, transparent and respectful of customer/employee data.

The need for transparency is driven by a growing awareness among the public of the consequences of the enormous power their data gives to organisations. Businesses need to ensure they operate ethically if they are not to risk reputational damage.

  1. Glass half empty, or glass half full?

Most references to GDPR use quite negative language and consider it a “challenge” for businesses and their leaders. But GDPR can equally be seen as a big opportunity. Those businesses that embrace the spirit behind GDPR are likely to become the new trusted and valued brands.

The ability to handle and process personal data ethically may have a real competitive advantage.

Leadership teams that can demonstrate and communicate their determination to treat sensitive data properly to their customers could see increasing gains in the marketplace.

  1. Importance of reviewing culture, processes, people and activities

GDPR highlights the need for leaders to keep their culture, processes and activities under constant review. As markets change and new challenges/opportunities arise, leaders need to understand, and be able to adapt, their culture, processes, people and general business activities better than ever before.

People analytics, 360 feedback surveys, leadership development, and employee engagement and culture surveys can help businesses gain a better understanding of their most powerful resource and greatest source of potential risk – their people.

  1. Getting leaders prepared for challenges and new opportunities

GDPR requires strong leadership. From executive assessment and psychometric testing to coaching and leadership development, our expert consultants are able to ensure your organisation is in safe hands. We are a leading UK-based business psychology practice, with over 20 years of experience providing tailored solutions to enhance leadership, employee engagement, and business performance in our client organisations.

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