It’s no doubt we’ve seen a tangential shift in how we may need to change our businesses over the next few years. We know that it is really difficult to make the right decisions in times of uncertainty. With uncertainty comes an anxiety from loss of control, and predictability.
In turn, this feeds stress and other negative emotions, as companies are struggling to understand how to carry their employees and customers forward. It has been a hard ordeal to try and figure out how to continue to provide goods and services to a customer base in such an environment.
The focus at this time cannot necessarily be on growing a business directly, but instead, maintaining and recuperating losses that have happened in the recent months. This becomes exponentially more difficult if a business has been on a decline in profits for a longer period of time. Companies can still bounce back from this, but there must be crucial steps taken to promote that comeback.
We can often have dysfunctional reactions to uncertainty. Some may adopt the attitude of just “rolling with it”, in an attempt to “head off” what may happen, and there can be negative consequences to that.
The delusion that we can predict the future, and trying to make large, impactful decisions on that can be devastating.
Not only can we increase the chances of failure, but we can lose resources in the process: employees, money spent towards the campaign, and customer confidence. There is also the reaction that we need to hold our ground until things are more certain.
Usually this is caused by “analysis paralysis”, where overanalyzing options leads to the lack of a decision, and often caused by someone who has perfectionist tendencies and doesn’t want to make the “wrong” decision.
No movement at all can also be damning to progress. Another negative reaction is to panic with no real plan. Knee-jerk, late-night, “let’s just do it now”, decisions can be just as bad. There needs to be real thought and vision with a path laid bare, even if that path changes in the future.
There are steps that can be taken in dealing with uncertainty.
Learning as much as possible about options, determining the worst case scenario, and knowing your goals and values are just a few ways to change your decision making when facing the unknown and help you gather the necessary courage to take proper action.
You also want to limit the number of variables addressed when making these decisions, as trying to change too many things at once can be overwhelming and set you back in your quest for progress. Also, making sure you don’t make an emotional decision, and instead drive the choice based on rational thinking as much as possible.
We may find we can no longer rely on previous methods to make our decisions, such as seasoned data sourced in previous stable work environments. Because our situation is unprecedented, we may find those thought processes no longer work in such global economic strife.
Many have taken to looking back in the history books to reference wartime efforts, and what has worked in the past. There may be a way for businesses to tap into the demand for goods during this time, and considering how the company can pivot to provide those goods or services may be crucial in their survival over the next three years or so.
Decisions need to be made, not on necessarily what was working a year ago, but what may be the most malleable going forward.
As a leader, you must realize there are changes that must occur with how you direct, lead and manage others. Flexibility and open dialogue are key elements in making the future both likely and successful.
An open mind to new ideas and a shift in focus from the way things were before is really important to help prepare properly. You may have to let go of ideas about management from before, as we face an unprecedented drive to support remote work. If you have been married to controlling how the work gets done, that is something you will need to let go of, and focus your energy on the path forward.
Lean on your staff, and employee feedback to address ways your workers can be the most productive during this time.
There are a lot of changes happening at the moment, both in the world and with your business. Make sure you’re taking your time when making such large decisions, and really evaluating your options, even the ones that may not be popular or seem outside of the box.
Preparing your business for the future is absolutely something you can do successfully with perseverance and a willingness to change.