In our personal lives, the consequences of actions often show up sooner than later. On the other hand, in organisational leadership roles where we instigate actions that are ultimately completed by others, the consequences of our decisions and their impact are often delayed. So, we are often unsure whether our last decision was the right one by the time we are presented with the next. If you are in a leadership role or planning for one, how do you handle uncertainty in a faster-changing world, even with the best laid plans? Are leaders always certain of their actions or do they proceed regardless of uncertainty?
It is kind of obvious that they proceed even whilst uncertain, otherwise they would stand still. They would be unable to act because the future is uncertain. Good leaders keep tuned into the external business, physical and social environment around them. They pick up signals of change to which they must respond flexibly, if they are to survive. Ultimately, they must trust that their decisions will be the best ones they could have made at the time. Enron is a textbook case of tremendous business success that went wrong. When did it’s leaders stop paying real attention to the world around them?
Making progress requires taking each step at a time, responding to the result of each action and the countless other occurrences in our environment as they unfold. The important thing is to be clear where you want to go. What is the organisation’s direction of travel? As I read recently in the ‘Word for Today’, “Pencil in your plans, but write your vision in ink!” Then, act with conviction, your mind and senses open.