We are undoubtedly living in uncertain times. As such, two simple things ring true. The first is that we have to relearn what we can rely on. The second is that the ability to think differently or creatively quickly rises from a want to an essential need.
These basic truths are more a little more layered than they may at first appear; and the implications of understanding them are critical for leaders and entrepreneurs alike.
If you’re only looking at the most immediate and obvious forms of uncertainty right now (i.e. everything triggered by the coronavirus pandemic), you’re missing the greater trend line. I’ve noticed that for the last 20 years or so, the working environment in general has become increasingly more uncertain.
The world in which leaders must now lead has become unpredictable, to say the least. Even the very nature of “change” is itself changing and becoming more complex than ever. In short, instead of having occasional bursts of uncertainty now and again — uncertainty has become a constant in our lives. More than just predicting the road that lies ahead, walking it has become ever more challenging.
Can I let you in on a fascinating little secret? The way forward is not about strategy, or the best practices, or any other things that often get a lot of attention…
For so many companies, uncertain times are a signal to buckle up and stick closely to everything they think they know and trust. But yet, even those who revert to this falsely safer way of doing things seem to know that a more creative, adaptable, and fluid approach is really what’s needed. The thing that most companies are lacking, though, is a thorough understanding of exactly how to make it happen.
Throughout my numerous years of experience, I’ve seen three simple acts — consciously recognised and applied as habits — to be the most life-changing sources of adaptability, creativity, and resilience for leaders and entrepreneurs. These three elements are: choice, reaction, and improvisation. Let’s take a closer look at them below:
Choice is immensely powerful. Indecision itself is also still a choice. It’s the active thought and engagement in each and every choice that distinguishes the quick from the dead in uncertain times. Far too often, without even being conscious about it, we allow uncertainty to hurl us on to autopilot mode; to simply do, rather than to ponder, consider, and rethink all of the choices available to us.
The hidden danger of choice is that when we make one, we generally assume that the best should follow. For this reason, reaction is the second powerful and fundamental act of creation. Reaction is the start of a brand new choice. The difference with reaction is that when the result of a choice is positive, we often let overconfidence allow us to drop our guard when we react. When it’s negative, on the other hand, we tend to move backwards, and seek to defend. Remember: there is no “backwards” during uncertain times.
The third action is a willingness to embrace uncertainty itself; to accept that no choice is 100% guaranteed, and to foster the habit of continuously acting in the face of the unknown. If you don’t do this, you’re just waiting to be rolled over by other people who are willing to improvise.
Considering everything I’ve mentioned above, there is no “perfect formula” for sailing a ship through the waves of uncertainty. The truth is that nobody really knows! Anybody who tells you that they do know what will happen cannot be trusted.
I’ll admit, I’m being bluntly honest, but it’s a truth that is slowly but surely replacing the idea that leaders have to know absolutely everything with certainty. When you think about it, honesty is really just an act of being conscious of the simple yet powerful ways that “new” and “better” are defined and created! 😉
Universal truth: all successful self-made millionaires had to start somewhere. The transformation from “ordinary” to seven-, eight-, or even […]Read More
When crisis strikes, there are some people who allow fear to completely overtake and overwhelm them; while there are other […]Read More
We generally think of intelligence in terms of knowledge or mental reasoning abilities; but there’s another kind of intelligence that […]Read More
Many people think of passive income as money earned while sitting on a Caribbean beach sipping cocktails; but there’s usually […]Read More