If there’s anything we should have all learned over the last couple of years, it’s that uncertainty is certain.
Yes, in recent years it may feel like we’ve had more than our fair share of uncertainty, what with Brexit, Covid and recession. In actual fact, uncertainty is an ongoing part of business, and life!
If you look back over the last couple of decades, how many instances can you think of where things felt certain? The chances are you’ll find that certainty is a rarity.
This all boils down to negativity bias. As humans we’re designed to focus on negative information to protect ourselves and adapt. But erring too far on the side of caution, sitting on the fence, freezing capital investments and embracing the mantra that ‘times are tough’ doesn’t tell the whole story.
Set up for success
If your business is set up to flourish then it will be better placed to weather economic storms. For example, company A and company B both operate in the same market. Company A has addressed issues like inefficiencies, culture and creating a senior team who are able to work on the company rather than in it. Company B hasn’t.
It’s a fact that company A will perform better than their competition. Yes, both businesses may well take a hit but company A will still be in a better place when the storm subsides. And given this foresight, it could be that company A see potential for opportunities in the longer term, rather than a threat in the short term.
Choose your leadership style
The economy, like the weather, is beyond the control of individual business leaders. What is entirely in any leader’s control is how they choose to respond to uncertainty. It’s no secret that the culture, energy and drive of any organisation comes from the top.
If you believe, and behave, as if uncertainty is a threat, then so will your teams. This will ultimately lead to disengaged, demotivated and less productive colleagues, leaving your business at the whim of the prevailing threat.
A simple exercise
If you’d like to explore your negativity bias then take some time out to complete this exercise, ideally with your team:
- Book a couple of hours into your schedule and spend it in a space where you won’t be interrupted
- Give all present a sheet of paper and a pen so they can write down the answers to the following questions
- What am I excited about/looking forward to?
- What am I worried about/makes me more cautious?
- What is holding me back?
- Be open, honest and fair in your answers, and if you’re with others, each other!
Share (and if in a team), discuss your answers. And most importantly turn any lightbulb moments into tangible action.
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