How To Lead In Uncertainty


In the last few months, the world has been learning devastating lessons from uncertainty. The Cliff of Uncertainty. Disorder, at the center of all environments, happens when you do not know which environment you’re operating in. Complexity Systems Thinking Uncertainty

Radical Uncertainty: Why Your Projects Fall Flat and What to Do About It

Leading Blog

That’s until I picked up the book Radical Uncertainty , a guide to improving your decision-making beyond numbers. When projects deal with human behavior, it always results in radical uncertainty. Speculation as Fact: The models do not take into account uncertainty.


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Operations Management: What You Need to Know in 2021

Strategy Driven

Operations managers have a tough and challenging role, particularly in 2021. If you’re working in operations management, or you aspire to become an operations supervisor, take a look at some of the challenges you’ll be facing in 2021: 1. Supply Chain Uncertainty.

Managing Employee Fear During Times of Uncertainty

CEO Insider

Needless to say, 2020 has been nothing short of complicated and chaotic as COVID-19 forced businesses to change their operations overnight to adhere to stay-at-home orders and protect employees. This year has CEOs and leaders operating with no playbook, figuring out how […].

How to Move Through Uncertainty to Opportunity

Leadership Freak

Leadership is rich with uncertainty. Turbulent times, regulations and compliance, technology, politics, people, and global markets enflame uncertainty. Author Book Notes Change Courage Decisions Influence Interview Leading Managing Marks of leaders decision making models ineffective leaders Leadership Development Organizational Development organizational stability standard operating procedures turbulent times

How Companies Can Adapt During Times of Political Uncertainty

Harvard Business

Managing uncertainty Operations management Global strategy Digital ArticleBrexit serves as a useful case study.

The Difference Between Transformational and Operational Strategies

Six Disciplines

According to the McKinsey article " Brilliant Strategy, But Can You Execute? ", there were two basic kinds of strategies: transformational and operational. A strategy is transformational when the company using it faces significant uncertainty, aims to change the game in the industry, and must address substantial customer, channel, or competitive challenges.

You Can’t Make Good Predictions Without Embracing Uncertainty

Harvard Business

With exquisite mock precision, they describe these highly specific futures, shrugging off uncertainty on the grounds that the future is ultimately unknowable. Risk is relegated to a qualitative discussion of potential problems, often resulting in an upward adjustment of the discount rate to compensate for the lack of accounting for uncertainty in the overall analysis. But the uncertainty of the future is no excuse for less rigor or clarity. Operations in a Connected World.

Greg Gaskey Named StrategyDriven Enterprises Chief Operations Officer

Strategy Driven

Executive leader brings hands-on management and operational experience to StrategyDriven’s Power & Utilities focused advisory services. To help utility leaders meet these challenges while improving operational safety and reliability, StrategyDriven Enterprises LLC announces the election of Greg Gaskey as the firm’s new Chief Operations Officer. You just finished reading Greg Gaskey Named StrategyDriven Enterprises Chief Operations Officer !

StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective – Here we go again… more government created uncertainty

Strategy Driven

Republicans and Democrats have once again dug in to their partisan positions; creating an uncertainty regarding the operation of our government institutions, the funding of programs, and the paying of social security, veteran benefits and military salaries. StrategyDriven has long maintained that politicians are primarily responsible for the great uncertainty hindering economic expansion and prosperity – and we believe history supports our assertion.

Great Businesses Scale Their Learning, Not Just Their Operations

Harvard Business

Today we live in a world that is increasingly shaped by exponentially improving digital technologies that are accelerating change, increasing uncertainty, and driving performance pressure on a global scale. Ronald Coase nailed it back in 1937 when he identified scalable efficiency as the key driver of the growth of large institutions.

What Will Happen to Your Business in Hong Kong?

Harvard Business

More than 9,000 foreign firms operate there. International business Strategy Managing uncertainty Digital Article

7 Ways to Help Your Team Deal with Ambiguity

Let's Grow Leaders

“Accepting that the world is full of uncertainty and ambiguity does not and should not stop people from being pretty sure about a lot of things.” If times of uncertainty don’t lead to your shining moments of leadership brilliance, acknowledge that. It’s easy to feel like everything is uncertain in times of uncertainty. You need every single brain cell operating on full cylinder at times like these, not censored with fear of making mistakes.

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Understanding The Power Of Our Words

Tanveer Naseer

In the end, our division was untouched by the merger, but thanks to our president’s lack of words to assure and support his employees through this period of uncertainty, our firm ended up losing valuable people who were vital to the organization’s future growth and prosperity. And this is understandable if we appreciate that – thanks to the faster-pace by which we now have to operate – it’s become harder for people to make those connections for themselves.

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How to Pivot Rather Than Pause Your Business During Tough Times

Joseph Lalonde

There is so much uncertainty out there in the world that you don’t know if you should pause or close your business altogether. It’s fair to say right now that life as a business owner pretty much sucks.

Avoiding Decision Paralysis in the Face of Uncertainty

Harvard Business Review

Any leader facing high levels of ambiguity needs to do two apparently paradoxical things: First, get comfortable with the idea of not having all the answers, and second, take steps to reduce the uncertainty. Researchers have studied how people in high-risk professions, such as firefighting, deal with uncertainty, and formed the theory of “ organizing ambiguity.” Reduce uncertainty where you can. Instead, take the initiative to actively manage uncertainty.

Stay Calm and Lead On


Enter COVID-19, and much of what gives us comfort and helps us operate on solid ground is somewhat up for grabs right now, amid all this uncertainty. So how do we as leaders rise to the occasion and help lift our people up, instead of sinking them into more uncertainty and despair?

Strategy and The Uncertainty Excuse

Harvard Business Review

When I ask business executives about their company's strategy — or about an apparent lack thereof — they often respond that they can't or won't do strategy because their operating environment is changing so much. The danger, of course, is that while we are using uncertainty as an excuse to put off making strategic choices, the competition may be doing something else entirely.

How Agile Teams Can Help Turnarounds Succeed

Harvard Business

Command-and-control systems work best when operations are stable and predictable, commanders have greater knowledge of operating conditions and potential solutions than their subordinates do, centralized decision makers can effectively handle peak decision volumes, and sticking to standard operating procedures is more important than adapting to change. Standard operating procedures fail because the situations are by definition nonstandard. Patrick Smith/Getty Images.

3 Ways to Take Action in the Face of Uncertainty

Harvard Business Review

If you’ve ever caught a deer in your headlights, you’ve seen that the first reaction to uncertainty is to freeze. companies have often hesitated to invest, citing “uncertainty” while they sit on a historic mountain of cash. Uncertainty is not going away anytime soon, and inaction can’t be the default response. I recently discussed the issue of managing through uncertainty with retired U.S. For most people, uncertainty breeds anxiety.

173: Clarity First ? Improve Performance by Eliminating Ambiguity | with Karen Martin

Engaging Leader

Ambiguity — in the form of uncertainty or conflicting priorities — has become the default state for organizations of all types. It saps energy from talented team members operating in the dark […] Ambiguity — in the form of uncertainty or conflicting priorities — has become the default state for organizations of all types. It saps energy from talented team members operating in the dark […] Engaging Leader

7 CEO Success Tips – How To Be A Better Leader

N2Growth Blog

When similar journeys are decided on by leaders in the driver’s seat of their organizations, the challenge to accomplish such a task means that CEOs must be able to navigate their way around the VUCA minefields (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) and instruct their senior teams how to do the same. Leadership Operations & Strategy Success CEO Coach Damian D. By Damian D. “Skipper” Pitts. Chair, Organizational Development, N2Growth.

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American CEOs Should Stop Complaining About Uncertainty

Harvard Business Review

This month, the chief executive officers of America's biggest companies went on a media blitz to decry the uncertainty caused by the fiscal cliff. In 1998, Mo was running a highly profitable and stable engineering firm serving European mobile operators. He sold that company to do what no European operator would (though he begged them): Start an African cell phone company.

Why It’s So Hard for Us to Visualize Uncertainty

Harvard Business

The next day I asked my colleague Scott Berinato, our data visualization expert , if he would help explain this uncertainty—how we dealt with it, why it was so hard to grasp, and what’s so challenging about visualizing it. The thing was the needle wasn’t swinging to represent statistical likelihood; it was a hard-coded effect meant to represent uncertainty in the statistical forecast. What do we mean by uncertainty? The U.S.

Strategic Leadership 2021: Lessons from Strategy Class

Lead Change Blog

It manifests through helping shape a continually evolving organizational paradigm while operating effectively in the current environment. Vision is distilled into actionable priorities, which become the day-to-day operating plan guiding all team members in performing their work. As I work with organizations preparing for the new year, one of the most common topics of discussion is what it takes to set a strategic course through times of uncertainty.

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The Social Franchise Model Works in Times of Uncertainty

Harvard Business Review

When my organization, Education For Employment , began operations in 2006 as a demand-driven answer to Arab youth unemployment, I felt that creating a social franchise model was the best way to meaningfully address an issue of this scale. And in some cases, the turmoil surrounding the Arab Spring has shown that a social franchise is the only effective model in times of great uncertainty. In regions in turmoil, this can be the difference between expanding operations and closing shop.

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Leading Thoughts for March 5, 2020

Leading Blog

He understood that individual as well as collective scripts would stay hidden until the normal way that the organization operates is challenged. Source: Decade of Change : Managing in Times of Uncertainty. * * *.

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Strategic Resilience

Lead Change Blog

Strategic Resilience is the practice of thinking forward while leading through present turbulence – adapting to difficult operating circumstances while looking beyond current conditions to keep focused on the horizon. The context for Strategic Resilience is dynamic fluidity in the operating environment. With this mindset, team members look to the organization’s vision and values instead of specific practices, products, operating goals or legacy accomplishments as touchstones.

The Big Picture of Business – Ethics… Good for Business

Strategy Driven

In an era that encompasses mistrust of business, uncertainties about the economy and growing disillusionments within society’s structure, it is vital for every organization to determine, analyze, fine-tune and communicate their value systems. Corporate Responsibility means operating a business in ways that meet or exceed the ethical, legal, commercial and public expectations that society has of business.

214: 4 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire | with Paul Falcone

Engaging Leader

In this episode, employment expert Paul Falcone shares four interview questions that can help cut through the uncertainty by drawing out honest, helpful answers from job candidates. Interviewing job candidates can feel like wading through a foggy swamp.

The Seven Tests of A CEO

Leading Blog

Acknowledge the uncertainty but reinforce the certainty of the need to change and the confidence that the organization can be nimble to adjust. Listening is actually being alert to the whole ecosystem in which you operate.”

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Companies Shouldn’t Wait to Prepare for the Post-Brexit World

Harvard Business

When we reach its second and subsequent chapters, political uncertainty is likely to return and affect the financial, institutional, and real economies. These structural challenges, along with similar ones in other geographies, will drive up uncertainty in the global business environment. Plan for Uncertainty. And the latest news of the high court ruling that Article 50 cannot be triggered without going to Parliament creates even further uncertainty on process and timing.

Is Your Supply Chain Ready for a NAFTA Overhaul?

Harvard Business

However, there is a high level of uncertainty about the ultimate outcome and consequences for companies, in part because the effect could be offset or aggravated by how currency rates adjust. Successful companies thrive in uncertainty by incorporating change into their strategy. Senior leaders who have learned to manage in uncertainty focus on the few risks that matter most. One option today is automating operations to some degree. NAFTA is headed for a renegotiation.

Building an Adaptable Team: 6 Ideas


Ability to deal with rapid changes and uncertainties on the field is as critical a skill for organizations/teams as it is for the military troops. In military operations, lack of agility can have more serious and rapid consequences. In case of teams, individuals and organizations, the consequences may not be visible in a short term,

Dealing with the Two Fronts of Every Crisis

Leading Blog

A “routine risk event” can be accompanied with fear, but it rarely evolves into panic as uncertainty is minimal. In some ways, we are operating blind in a crisis, and this often generates a great deal of uncertainty and fear. Communicate the uncertainty.

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The Industries Plagued by the Most Uncertainty

Harvard Business Review

It’s a cliché to say that the world is more uncertain than ever before, but few realize just how much uncertainty has increased over the past 50 years. Although uncertainty is accelerating, it isn’t affecting all industries the same way. That’s because there are two primary types of uncertainty — demand uncertainty (will customers buy your product?) Demand uncertainty arises from the unknowns associated with solving any problem, such as hidden customer preferences.

When Having Too Many Experts on the Board Backfires

Harvard Business

” Our research shows that these three problems of expert-dominated boards are most likely to be damaging when a company veers off the beaten path and faces uncertainty. But then we looked specifically at banks that faced heightened uncertainty for some reason—for example, because they were growing rapidly in an uncharted market territory or because they were operating in a lending market with unusual loans and atypical, heterogeneous clients.

Small and Young Businesses Are Especially Vulnerable to Extreme Weather

Harvard Business

Others were unable to borrow to replace lost assets and address other operating needs, compromising their earnings potential. Traditionally risk management focused on minimizing risk and, in corporations, operated in silos – HR protected personnel, operations managed supply disruptions, IT planned for technology risks, etc. A manufacturer may relocate from a coastal community because the benefits to its operations of this location are few.

Stay Indispensable by Cultivating These Key Ingredients

Leading Blog

A learned practice that ebbs and flows being fluid is a sign of strength in times of uncertainty. Many workers now function like Apps on a smartphone, sitting pretty on top of a company’s operating system (OS). I N 1984 a typical business competency would last 30 years.

What Could Amazon’s Approach to Health Care Look Like?

Harvard Business

For existing health care companies, the operative words in that mandate have been “health care”; for Amazon, the operative words likely are “service that needs to be delivered to a customer.” These pieces of information, all of which are collected by the simple movement of people and equipment through established workflows, can be helpful in improving operational execution for the complex services provided in many health care settings.

Just What Do You Mean, Entrepreneur?

Leading Blog

About two-thirds of the businesses owned around the world are owned and operated by families, and in America, “family firms constitute over half of the businesses in the country and half of those listed on stock markets.”. Uncertainty is a daily part of business.

How Big Companies Can (and do) Innovate Like a Start-Up

Leading Blog

Re-creating these mindsets inside an established company is challenging because they result partly from the unique pressures and circumstances under which start-ups operate. The best strategy when facing high degrees of uncertainty is to hedge and build options for the future.”. Such “all-in” bets make for great business headlines, but they are actually pretty foolish if you face high levels of uncertainty.

Leaders: Are You Ready For A Purpose-Led Future?

Lead Change Blog

During times of crisis, individual purpose acts as a guidepost that can help people face up to uncertainties and navigate them better, and thus mitigate the damaging effects of long-term stress. So knowing that individual purpose is such a contributor to both team member well-being but also business performance, it is imperative that leaders pay more attention to this as business returns to operations and begin feeling their way into the subsequent phases of the “next to normal.”.