Success Despite Uncertainty
What lessons can we learn from those who have continued to succeed despite levels of high uncertainty?
- Focus on what you can control. Mourning for past good times with easy business successes and guaranteed profit is neither productive nor mentally healthy. Let’s admit that it is a new day and develop strategies for new times. Communicate a disaster recovery plan for the worst case scenarios, but focus on what people can do to make a difference and be successful.
- Think globally. Internet connectivity, offshore outsourcing and market competition around the world force us to expand our thinking about competition and to better differentiate ourselves. Think outside the box. What is a whole new business game you could create? What might be possible now that has never been possible before?
- Don’t stop. Fear of the unknown can be paralyzing. Accepting that an uncertain world is not a temporary condition is the first step in moving forward. The financial markets in our major cities cannot close down due to concerns over terrorism; neither can the other activities that drive our business and personal lives.
- Focus on the personal. Personal well being, mental and physical, leads to greater optimism about the economy, your own business efforts and your place in the universe. Take care of yourself first for a change.
- Strengthen your circle of caring. In times of stress, the most effective relief comes from family and friends. Make time for those closest to you. Get to know your neighbors. Could you create a support group in your neighborhood or workplace to make certain that people aren’t retreating into isolation? There is strength in numbers.
- Look out. You can get so involved in every day minutiae that you can’t see ahead. Looking out is the ability to pull up out of the day-to-day operating challenges and take a hard look at what is ahead, whether it be client, competitor or marketplace shifts.
- Work smarter. When travel alerts make it more difficult to schedule face-to-face meetings with clients, make better use of technology. Encourage flex work time, telecommuting, job-sharing, second careers and other strategies that facilitate quality work-life balance for associates.
- Plan with optimism. Those that successfully weather unforeseen catastrophes (as a POW, victim of a natural disaster, or job crisis) are those that have developed the inner resources to plan for a better future. Confidence borne of planning can turn stress to strength.