Sunday, June 21, 2015

How to Handle Uncertainty

The only "Certainty" or a "Constant" is "CHANGE." Uncertainty is a given, just as it has always been and always will be.

It is said that the only true constant is change, and in today’s world, nothing is changing more or growing faster than information. The estimate global Internet traffic has 21 exabytes—21 million terabytes in 2010. By the end of this year, global traffic will reach 1.3 zettabytes, Every day, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created. The ability of companies, much fewer individuals, to consume and make sense of the information that is available and necessary to make good decisions is becoming a nearly insurmountable challenge. Now the only "Certainty" or a "Constant" is "CHANGE." Business is only an extended part of our life and all businesses have to accept a change to survive. So how can organizations handle such unprecedented uncertainty?

Organizations have to learn how to manage information lifecycle more effectively and capture business insight: The problem to be solved is to deal with this mountain of information with both technology and human know-how, then to convert this information into valuable knowledge and gain business insight for the longer term. A large part of the problem is that while there are both long and short-term goals for the business, far too often these goals are in opposition to each other. However, since the rewards are highest for the short-term goals being met, the long-term goals tend to suffer, and uncertainty gets blamed rather than that managers focused on the short-term goals and the associated rewards. Uncertainty and ambiguity are a key challenge for business leaders today. In the past, many business leaders believed their organizations’ long-term goals could wait until they had dealt with the current crisis. In the current business environment, this is no longer the case. The rate of change has accelerated, indicating that business leaders must learn how to strike a balance between managing complex issues today and predicting the uncertain issues of tomorrow.

The business strategy management should be a long-term focus: The business starts with simple values and when it starts growing, to maintain their standards and brand image, etc., they float with time and money, sometimes leaving behind their value systems and they don't maintain the same simplicity, also they forget the long term. Even the speed of change is increasing, businesses still do have contexts of relative certainty, while simultaneously having contexts reflecting both complexity and chaos. Each of these contexts requires a different management approach. The traditional scientific management theory still assumes relevance in contexts of predictability, yet complexity theory would appear to be more effective for dealing with the emergence and uncertainty. A problem is the lack of management understanding of how to apply complex adaptive systems theory in contexts of unpredictability. History has evidence of this. Some key questions - how can the soft signals of contextual changes be best determined. How do you structure information systems to deal with uncertainty - note it’s the era of Big Data and cognitive analytics, so when business people focus on business strategy management and keep anticipating about future hurdles or complications, then they are better prepared to deal with uncertainties. Most business strategies are based on a long-term goal and several short-term objectives to achieve it. Now with the uncertainty around with the volatile market situations, extreme competition, advanced technology, globalization and so many factors to consider, don’t you feel that although uncertainty is an opportunity, but somehow it’s affecting the short-term objectives and are forcing the companies to act differently according to situations with the rapidly changing market scenario.

Digital leaders are system thinkers and scientific guidance for growing individuals and business at the age of uncertainty: The uncertainty will characterize the future. The revolution caused by the new digital technologies, on the one hand, but also the ongoing economic dynamic, on the other hand, will create such uncertainty and volatility in the global economy, that will need a new model of leadership in which openness, flexibility, transparency, science, and connectivity become necessary features. Improving communications requires to be always on and always connected. The amount of data to manage is huge and creates a lot of pressure. This requires an incredible ability to make decisions and to respond to and anticipate. The greatest indicator of success in the era of social technology will be an open mind control that let you go at the right time, to the right place, in the right doses. Who leads the organizations must find within him/herself the emotional stability and greater empathy because an open and global leadership first requires discipline, structure, constant effort. The change will be the new normality, and the leader must act with speed but quietly, he or she will need stability, confidence, and self-awareness. The leader of the future is no longer the charismatic prophet capable of seducing the masses, but a system thinker and scientific guidance for growing individuals and business. Science has created a world where individuals play the role that was once entrusted to the community. For the leadership of the future is not only about natural talent. He or she must become aware of the resources, to achieve behavioral strategies effectively and have a path of personal and professional improvement, a great preparation, vision, intuition, perseverance and the ability to work hard.

Strategy management and risk management goes hand in hand: Strategic planning is paramount but, in these uncertain times, this should go hand in hand with contingency planning around “what if” scenarios. Set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are useful and relevant to the organization. The crisis of our consciousness now consists in that, in fact, even technologically successful science is a double-edged sword. For the allegedly useful knowledge science seems to provide for industries has side effects that, in the limited framework of, technological success, were not predictable, since even the possibility of undesirable side effects has not been the focus of Newtonian mechanics that have fueled industrialization. It has taught us to view and organize nature as if it were a machine. The miraculous technological success that this approach to nature has had, however, does not allow of the conclusion that it indicates knowledge, as its unpredictable and undesirable side effects (silo, hierarchy and slow to change, etc)  show us. Of course, viewing human beings or living beings in general as mechanisms allow of incredibly successful control of the functioning of those alleged mechanisms, with the exception of that transforming living beings into machines may result in diminishing them.

When business is people-centric, uncertainty is an opportunity; when people are for business, it causes a problem: This is where the mission of the business at the core is tested, how much the team is aligned to the mission is tested. So for people-centric organizations, uncertainty is not a problem and is an opportunity enabling to foresee possibilities and probabilities that might crop in the way of progress. The way to effectively deal with uncertainty is to reduce it by getting information. That is why good strategic planning is based on good information about customers, competition, internal capabilities, and costs. While there is always some remaining uncertainty, reducing the uncertainty, particularly if one broadly involves the organization, leads to better decisions, strategic plans, and better implementation. This does not ensure success, but it does raise the probability of success.

As we all know the only "Certainty" or a "Constant" is "CHANGE." Uncertainty is a given, just as it has always been and always will be. Business is only an extended part of our life and all businesses have to accept a change to survive. Without a positive and proactive approach, there is no positive result. The task of the business is to deal with uncertainty while moving forward. Yes, the challenges, competition, and complexities may be on the increase, but along with it there comes the increase in opportunity too and in the form of demand. Digital organizations are dynamic, organic, intelligent, and agile, with dynamic capabilities to deal with volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.


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