“The most powerful way to prepare yourself, your team, and your organization to survive and thrive in a fast, unpredictable, competitive and complex world is to ‘first be nimble’ — in other words, to first develop the capability and resilience to adapt.” —Graham Winter (Author of First Be Nimble.)
We live in a VUCA world: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. Some brief thoughts on dealing with these circumstances in your business:
Assume volatility in your strategic, financial, and market planning. The best way to do this is to project a best- and worst-case scenario as you put together your plan, and then take the middle of the two as a target. But I would include both scenarios in the plan, so that you can refer to them later. The more you can diversify, the more you can smooth volatility. Like an investment portfolio, your plan should embrace diversity, so that everything doesn’t go up or down at the same time.
Nothing is written in bedrock. All you can do is create an environment, and a plan, that maximize certainty. You control what you can and try to prepare for what you can’t. Risk management should be an integral part of your business. The hard part is identifying the risks. Spend as much time delineating your risks as you do your opportunities; then attempt to mitigate them.
The quickest way to reduce complexity is to break everything down to its simplest form. When I owned a homebuilding business I was faced with the daunting task of constructing a huge contemporary-style house, with a floorplan like Windsor Castle’s. I was intimidated and asked for help. My dear friend Jack Muscolino, a more experienced builder (and civil engineer), gave me advice that always helped when I faced similar complex tasks. When I asked, “How the hell am I going to build this?” he retorted, “One stud at a time.”
If you want to be a great business leader, you must learn to interpret ambiguity, and be able to explain it to others. A great way to deal with ambiguity is to not get frustrated. Recognize that it’s just part of the job. If you accept that, you’ll be prepared to deal with it. If you focus on outcomes, as mentioned previously, solutions become clearer. Motivate your team to go for the “best” solution, not the “perfect” one. Business is a maze of conflicting information; your growth as a leader depends on successfully navigating it.
Ken Tasch is the inventor of the LAUNCH® Selling and Business Capture System: a simple and easy way to significantly increase the odds of winning new business.
I retired from over 40 years of starting my own businesses and managing businesses for corporations. My goal now is to help others succeed and grow to be everything they want to be; to give back and share my life experience.