Managing Uncertainty

Oct 15th, 2012 | By | Category: CAMPUS NEWS, College of Business

Managing Uncertainty

Critical Leadership Tasks During Times of Uncertainty

As business leaders continue to struggle with the question; what can I, as a business owner and leader in my organization, do to better manage/lead during this economic uncertainty?, they may find comfort in the following quotation.

 “A chicken doesn’t stop scratching just because worms are scarce.” (Grandma’s Axiom)

 While a chicken is not often described as a noble creature, its persistence is admirable. Business leaders must continue to be persistent and take action. This is not a time to take a page from the ostrich and put their heads in the sand.

However, it is difficult to summon the motivation…resources are restricted, budgets have been and will be cut, the business environment is uncertain, there may be pressure of cut staff, ethical scandals continue to make headlines, how do we manage cash flow… To help provide focus the following leadership model may assist those that continue to persist in formulating consistent, incremental steps as they lead during this time of economic uncertainty.


Deliver the Business
*Consider all options and then mobilize your resources
*Focus the resources/Carefully review all costs
*Meet regularly to fine-tune the strategies
Support the People Prepare for the Upturn
*Communicate! Communicate! If you don’t have anything to say, communicate that! *Identify what will pull you ahead of the competition
*Listen and look for psychological needs *Visualize the upturn and align resources toward it
*Break barriers to make others successful *Formulate incremental steps/Plan small wins
*Provide encouragement, “can do” support to the troops
* Also apply this to customers/suppliers


Stick with the Triangle

Managing a downturn is not easy. This model has been applied successfully because it replaces “knee-jerk/panic” reactions. It provides business owners and leaders an example to reflect upon and focus their energy and attention for both the short-term and the long-term success of their organizations.


ExecutivEdge of Silicon Valley, LLC. Principal Partners, John W. Baird, Ph.D. and Michele K. Bolton, Ph.D.

Rigby, Darrell. “Moving Upward in a Downturn.” Harvard Business Review, June 2001.

Weston, Rusty. “Managing In a Downturn: Even in times like these, innovation is crucial.” Optimize Magazine, November 2001.

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