15 Mar
Five keys for uncertainty management

In light of everything that is happening right now in the world, VUCA* gets a whole new meaning.

How can one prepare to such a dramatic event?

In uncertainty and crisis situations one may not be able to be as proactive, but can be quick to respond and change course often enough.

Here are five tactical keys to manage uncertainty situations:

  • Move forward with short term decisions – The tendency might be to stop and wait for things to get clear, but this in many cases might deepen the crisis. The right thing to do it to take reasonable assumptions and base short term decisions on these assumptions to move on. Indeed, part of the work in this case might be through away, but there is importance in responding fast and avoiding deterioration. Also being productive and keeping teams engaged increases the focus and moral.

  • High transparency  -Transparency is even more important than usual when things are vague as people are more concerned and sensitive to information. So, it is important to share as much information as possible and create full transparency for the decision factors, the assumptions and the potential scenarios. Being transparent with teams will reduces the fear and increase effectiveness. People will be less busy guessing and speculating and able to better cope.

  • Use data and facts – As much as possible, look for real data and real facts. Uncertainty can create confusion and sometimes even panic, in which people tend to be emotional and speculative. Therefor it is not wise to rely on interpretations and gut feel. The use of real data and facts, as little as available, is crucial for evaluations and decision making.

  • Listen more, but also filter more – Good ideas and different point of views can help see the situation from few directions and find solutions, so listen more. At the same time, there are always negative voices of those who chose to stick to the “can’t do” approach, so filter them and move on.

  • Constantly review assumptions and refine course – review of assumptions should be done very often to ensure they are still realistic, as things change fast. It may very well be that an assumption that was reasonable a week ago is less reasonable today and there is a need to change it and reevaluate the course of action. It may also be that an assumption becomes stronger and there is an opportunity to add more efforts to the chosen course. In any case, the review of the assumptions is important and can help reduce through away and change the course of action when needed.

Finally, resilience and persistence will be required to hold this. Those leaders who are able to absorb the uncertainty, create the confidence for the teams and be resilient and persistent, will succeed.

With the hope this world crisis will end soon,

Good health for all!


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