Three tips to navigate through an uncertain business environment

by John Hilton11 Apr 2016
The business world is becoming more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous by the day, according to Patrick Hollingworth, leadership and change management consultant, and author of the new book The Light and Fast Organisation: A New Way of Dealing with Uncertainty.

And the ways to deal with this challenge are twofold.   
                                              
“You can either ignore it, and your business will perish, or you can embrace it, study it, understand it, respond accordingly, and your business will succeed," Hollingworth told L&D Professional.
 
For L&D professionals focused on leadership, here are three tips Hollingworth offered to help with your journey:
 
It’s the journey that matters
 
Don’t focus completely on the goal, destination or outcome.
 
In a business environment which is obsessed with transactions, quantity and metrics, this can sound counter-intuitive.
 
But focusing only on the numbers and the outcome can lead to a process known as goalodicy. This is where an obsession with a goal can be detrimental to the extent that the likelihood of the goal being achieved is diminished.
 
It’s also quite possible that in this world of rapid change, your goal will be irrelevant by the time it has been achieved.

Instead, focus equally on the quality of the journey. Improved processes and improved employee experiences will ultimately reflect in improved customer experiences.
 
Embrace risk
 
Remember that risk is uncertainty that matters—it has both a downside and an upside. But much organisational thinking and communication around risk these days seems to convey that risk only has a downside.
 
This belief then leads to organisations aiming for robustness and resilience as the solution to downside risk.
 
But robustness and resilience is normally manifest in the organisation by increased bureaucracy, structure and size. This does not enable it to respond and take advantage of upside risk, which leads to extinction.
 
Observe wisely
 
Read and watch, listen and learn. Have a voracious appetite for new ideas, especially ones which are outside of your industry, and appreciate that learning is an infinite, life-long process.
 
In today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, it’s the only way you can stay current.
 

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