Setting yourself up for dealing with uncertainty

  • Strategic Visioning

Maybe your leadership is not on the same page, or maybe unplanned events block your path to success. Many things can make you lose track. That’s why it’s crucial to know how to move past it and build a futureproof business.

It is not only about execution

Uncertainty can come in many forms, it could be a global pandemic. But let’s say you’re working in a company that ships products from Asia to Europe via the Suez Canal. Everyone who is part of the operation knows exactly what needs to be done.

Everything is planned out and works as it should. But all of a sudden, there’s a ship blocking the canal. Then the problem becomes; how do we get the value to the market?

The point is that, for leadership teams, it is different when you are dealing with many unknowns. You need a different approach where design thinking capability and a clear vision where to go will enable you to act in uncertain situations.

That’s a big part of futureproofing your company.

It’s hard for leaders to set the right course for the short term. But it’s even harder to develop a long-term strategy of five or even ten years and share this with the whole company.

Thinking ahead

Planning for the future is vital to dealing with uncertainty. And while it’s hard to predict a ship blocking the Suez Canal, it’s crucial to think about these unforeseen situations and when they have the ability to act quickly.

A lot of companies tend to prioritise governing over thinking about future value; focusing on the short term rather than the long-term. But without a long-term plan, your business model may be a nesting ground for naysayers.

Many successful businesses have found a way around this working from a strong point of view together with using the notion of Search versus Execute. Using the search mindset for the unexpected becomes a daily routine – making them much better prepared.

That’s why a future-oriented business is one that has a clear view of what happens in their market, consumer behaviour, and competitors. Their overall perspective allows them to spot and deal with potential problems much quicker and with their search capability now how to quickly tackle this.

Successful businesses use this method

Tesla, SpaceX, and IKEA are just a few examples of large businesses successfully balancing long term and short term focus. Even though their focus is split, they have purpose and direction – which allows them to move much faster in the right direction.

But even though these businesses are massive, the same ideas apply to small businesses as well. For example, there is a small butchery in the Netherlands with 25 employees. Their vision was not to become the largest in the country but rather to become the “butcher of the future” and figure out what that means for customers who eat less and less meat.

For them, becoming this means actively searching for value. Instead of selling meat and hoping for the best, they’re adapting to a changing market with declining meat consumption – allowing them to plan ahead, and create a futureproof business model that can deal with uncertainty.

Would you like to know how BMI can help you deal with uncertainty? Let’s talk!

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