Delivering Through Uncertainty - What can we do?

On 18th-19th November at IET Savoy Place in Central London, the best of HR & Technology will come together to discuss business transformation with a focus around 'Delivering Through Uncertainty'.

In today's current environment, uncertainty is the only thing that is certain for us and we have no road map of how to deal with it...

So how can businesses and people survive this dramatic time of uncertainty, change and upheaval?

It is tempting to 'play it safe', however, the risk of playing it safe are often less obvious and less immediate, but it doesn't mean that they're not there. As the human brain is wired to prefer certainty, playing it safe is often the more favourable option for people. Therefore, when uncertainty is put in a working environment, taking the safer option, or not making a decision from fear of making the wrong one is a lot more damaging towards the overall success of the organisation.

There are 4 key ways people can tackle uncertainty to succeed in the long-term:

1. Be adaptable - Being stuck in your ways and not embracing the situation will only make the fear worse, freezing in a time of crisis (like a fire), doesn't stop the crisis, it only stops you from effectively dealing with it and tackling the issue. Making sure you and your people are ready to deal with today's VUCA environment by making them more adaptable to new way of working.

2. Be aware of what you do and don't know - This sounds simple, but knowing what you know can make a massive difference to embracing change and uncertainty. Uncertainty can easily make people feel as though everything is uncertain and that you don't know how anything works, but this is almost never the case. When managing uncertainty, making sense of what you do know about the situation and the options available to you, is a stronger place to start than you might think... By gathering all the information you know that you know, you are able to identify the possible issues that you may face and be able to strategise for the unknown. Furthermore, by focusing on what you do know and what you can control, you are, in turn, planning for the areas you can affect to increase your potential for success. You can't control who has been voted into government, but you can control how you business tackles the economic impact that this would have to ensure that you don't run into long-term problems.

3. Have contingency plans - Plan B always seems like easy advice, but when we don't know what is going to happen, having other options already built out, planned and ready to go for whenever the inevitable does happen cannot be overlooked. Remember the saying "Fail to prepare, or prepare to fail", this couldn't be more relevant during times of uncertainty when you don't know what is going to be around the corner.

4. If it all goes wrong, they take some time to breathe/think - When times are so unpredictable, potential failure (even of back-up plans) can be commonplace. If this happens, the most important thing to do, is to not panic and to take a step back to breathe and assess the new situation. This gives you the ability to calm down any stress or anxiety and reassess the situation to then begin to conduct a plan to counter the issue.


If you're finding today's VUCA environment intimidating and don't know how to deal with it, then clear your diary on Monday 18th - Tuesday 19th November and get your tickets to our Excellence in Leadership conference in London, which is focusing on "Delivering Through Uncertainty". Our speakers are covering a wide variety of topics including "Uncertainty: The Impact on Businesses & Politics", "Readying our People for the Future in a VUCA World", "Thriving Through Uncertainty: The Neuroscience of Change & Leadership", "Creating Certainty in Uncertain Times" and many more.