— September 22, 2019
Managing business uncertainty can be overwhelming. Even if you embrace and even welcome change, dealing with uncertainty from local markets and global developments is a whole different ballgame. What’s happening with the economy? What is the impact of global warming on the weather, or agriculture and water supplies, or property values and retirement destinations? How will tariffs, oil pipelines and international trade impact our business and personal lives? Will there even be an impact? And the list goes on.
Even in the calmest of times, business, by definition, exists in uncertainty. Clients come and go, competitors enter and leave the market; leases are not renewed, technology changes overnight. Adding in global considerations can accelerate baseline craziness to category 4 tornado proportions.
So what do we do?
Managing Business Uncertainty for Fun and Profit
Flailing wildly is an option; diving under the blankets and refusing to come out is also an option. Neither one is a particularly effective response, but there are other, more productive alternatives.
- Remain aware, but not obsessed. Stay current on local and global developments. If there are issues which particularly resonate with you either personally or professionally, seek forums for action. These may be offered through volunteer organizations, political activity or personal initiatives. No one can be everything to all people or all causes. Act thoughtfully and responsibly, but take action. Choose your issues and responses, and strive to keep balance and perspective.
- Separate fact from speculation. Speculation is important. We all do and should try to extrapolate from current conditions to predict and plan for the future. Speculation is being proactive rather than reactive. But to be effective, speculation must be based on fact. Chicken Little mistook an acorn landing on her head for the sky falling, setting off a whole storybook full of misdirected adventures. Try not to be Chicken Little.
- Have a contingency plan. Have a Plan B, and maybe even a Plan C. Know how you intend to react to “what if” scenarios. Being realistic, conditions may change so quickly that your plan is outdated before the ink is dry. But at least you have momentum to create your best response to change.
- Continuously seek opportunities. There is a huge upside to uncertainty. Disruption creates challenges, but for every challenge there are related opportunities. The insurance industry, survival food packaging companies, the gambling industry, escape room amusements and more are all based on uncertainty. Be open to the possibilities.
- Act from a position of integrity. This is and should always be Rule Number One. Yet in times of uncertainty and chaotic activity, perspective can easily be lost. When things are unpredictable, your core values and principles might be all you have as your anchors. Don’t throw them away.
Managing business uncertainty is an integral part of business success. Keeping your course in the never-ending whirlwind is both the challenge and the accomplishment. See the opportunities and position strategically to take advantage of the possibilities.