Published in


The May Government’s interim year end evaluation

It’s not looking good right now…

Ok, can *anyone at all* around the table read or count?

I thought it might be instructive to view this document how someone in an actual business might view it and provide constructive feedback…

1. Providing certainty and clarity

We will provide certainty wherever we can as we approach the negotiations.

I feel that for me, this is both rather flimsy and vague — I would certainly not lead with it, even if it did make the cut. Remember —strongest messages first in the presentation, it sets the tone. Additionally, certainty seems a little strong, even domineering, which may turn your audience off. — TRL

2. Taking control of our own laws

We will take control of our own statute book and bring an end to the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the UK.

I hate to bring up the dreaded phase “scope creep”, but you will have to meet with the financial controllers at some point to track the project budget. I’ll quote it here: “ Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”. One has to be careful to not be perceived as taking the piss by writing your own blank cheque. — TRL

3. Strengthening the Union

We will secure a deal that works for the entire UK — for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and all parts of England. We remain fully committed to the Belfast Agreement and its successors.

And another one I would place later in the order or not at all as this is already showing the signs of going pear shaped, you don’t want to be the prime candidate for the patsy who takes the fall for that. — Also — General Point — isn’t 12 points a bit much? A good presentation rule of thumb is sticking to the “rule of five” or the “rule of 350M”. — TRL

4. Protecting our strong and historic ties with Ireland and maintaining the Common Travel Area

We will work to deliver a practical solution that allows for the maintenance of the Common Travel Area, whilst protecting the integrity of our immigration system and which protects our strong ties with Ireland.

See above.

And also below. — TRL

5. Controlling immigration

We will have control over the number of EU nationals coming to the UK.

Again, this would seem to be another promise that is very much a hostage to fortune. I’m going to book you in for the training course on “Deliverables III: Negotiation and Credibility”. I think you will benefit from it. — TRL

6. Securing rights for EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU

We want to secure the status of EU citizens who are already living in the UK, and that of UK nationals in other Member States, as early as we can.

I don’t know why this is in here.

Everyone in the room will be working on the basis there will be no change, won’t they? If not, the pitchforks and flaming brands will be out in force, I assure you.

Suggest you strike this one, you have plenty of fat to trim. — TRL

7. Protecting workers’ rights

We will protect and enhance existing workers’ rights.

Similar point to the prior.

And again a rather odd promise to change people’s situations.

I would suggest commit to “no change” for now — but see my summary later — TRL

8. Ensuring free trade with European markets

We will forge a new strategic partnership with the EU, including a wide reaching, bold and ambitious free trade agreement, and will seek a mutually beneficial new customs agreement with the EU.

Yeah, this is just going to get scoffed at when it comes to presentation time, I’m afraid.

The bind is: without details, why would be do it, and what are *you* doing?
With details, you then are on for hook for the details of what is better and worse and why didn’t we do it another way? — TRL

9. Securing new trade agreements with other countries

We will forge ambitious free trade relationships across the world.

This actually get a ripple of laugher from the room.

It does sort of imply that prior to this project we weren’t interested in the money. If it’s not taken with good humour, then some people might become a little offended. — TRL

10. Ensuring the UK remains the best place for science and innovation

We will remain at the vanguard of science and innovation and will seek continued close collaboration with our European partners.

OK, now oddly we’re back to promising absolutes, — that course booking will help straighten you out — and also I can let you know that the “word on the street” is that it’s not going to be all plain sailing. — TRL

11. Cooperating in the fight against crime and terrorism

We will continue to work with the EU to preserve European security, to fight terrorism, and to uphold justice across Europe.

Why would we even mention this? We’re all grown-ups, and we want to be one of the most grown-up, right? — TRL

12. Delivering a smooth, orderly exit from the EU

We will seek a phased process of implementation, in which both the UK and the EU institutions and the remaining EU Member States prepare for the new arrangements that will exist between us.

Ok, this is about the best one — it’s realistic, credible and makes no silly slip-ups in promises or references to situations that already have issues. — TRL

Having dealt with my marginal notes, I also have some general points to make about tone and content.

Re: this project — I appreciate your enthusiasm for The Brexit (I hear some our your chums even gave themselves a team name — that’s the spirit!), but please remember in this instance your role is as Project Manager, not the Monarch (sorry, Ma’am).

The old phrase “know your role” comes to mind.

In a similar vein, some of these bullet points could be read as being quite patronising and prescriptive — as in “I know what’s best”, which will tend to put a significant proportion of the audience’s back up.

Finally, some of these points are likely to even cause some alarm — remember you rely upon the audience’s cooperation here, so I would seriously reconsider the tone.

There are also far too many points, and 2 things people don’t like in presentations are:

  • Laundry Lists
  • Being read out a bunch of vague commitments when it’s their livings at stake.

I have to be honest, if this project remains uncorrected, I don’t see the year end evaluation being as good as I know you could make it. I can inform you that this is heading for a “must improve” and we both know the next level under that…

Anyway, there is promise here: please take my feedback in the spirit in which it was intended, and also seek some other viewpoints, maybe outside of your normal circles. There’s plenty of time.

I’m sure you’ll do the alt-right thing in the end. — TRL



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store