Manage uncertainty in business

06/25/2020

Manage uncertainty in business

Uncertainty is like the weather. It’s always there, part of the atmosphere, and a condition over which individuals and organizations have very little control. The severity of uncertainty, like the severity of the weather, can rise and fall. At the moment, around the world, CEOs are operating under a series of severe uncertainty alerts.

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 post corona? 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.

So, how can you deal with uncertainty positively? Here are some tips and ideas to help you.

Prepare for multiple outcomes

Unfortunately, there isn’t a crystal ball to help you predict the future because there are certain factors that are completely out of your control. This could be anything from illness to a natural disaster to a changing political system.

Instead of trying to guess what’s going to happen next, place as many small bets as you can on multiple outcomes that are within your control. This can include how your customers perceive your brand, how you motivate your employees and where you can expand into untapped markets. When it comes to your products or services specifically, focus on the improvements you think the market will demand, and experiment with pricing and new marketing strategies.

Will you strike out? Sometimes. But you aren’t going to hit a home run unless you swing.

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.

Cultivate your reputation for extreme trust

In the end, you have to prepare for failure, success, and everything in between. But as long as others find you trustable, you’ll never be on your own. Focus on doing the right thing, and your customers, employees, and other stakeholders will all have an interest in seeing your company weather whatever unpredictable storm might come your way.

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.