According to the Cambridge Dictionary, Uncertainty is a situation in which something is not known or something that is not certain. Neda Gould, the Director of the Mindfulness Program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, explains it as a particularly difficult situation to deal with because it triggers fear. “We view it as a potential threat to our survival and well-being”, she further adds. The current pandemic outbreak is the epitome of uncertainty. Since the past year, we all have been grappling with unprecedented complications of the outbreak, trying to find out feet in complete pandemonium. Businesses are shutting down or moving large swaths of work into “socially distant mode”. All annual plans, goals, and strategies need a major overhaul.
Every day, we are calibrating our business systems and processes to adapt to the demands of the next normal. And we are getting there - gradually, but surely to keep our business alive and flourishing. But the real question is could we have been more prepared to handle uncertainties and unpredictability like these? Can an organization or people working at the top management prepare a contingency plan for unprecedented events that directly affect the continuity of the business?
A bit of a traditional approach that many millennials may not be in accord with, but if given the chance it can help organizations minimize waste and expense, guard against unnecessary additional risks and sustain through the trials ahead. But playing safe doesn't mean playing slow. Being fast in responding to the current situation and adapting to the new demands of the time is the most appropriate action to take. For example, during the 2020 lockdown, most organizations made a dramatic move towards the WFH format. Most of them were already acquainted with the ecosystem that helped them transition smoothly. But a lot of industries found it difficult to adjust to the new format of working, mostly the ones that relate to manufacturing, sales, and distribution. How can a sales field executive meet the quotas if he or she won’t be allowed to have in-person meetings with potential clients? Being prepared for the future and equipping your organization with digital tools and technology is the need of the hour. It is the safest way to beat the havoc created under uncertainty. Organizations that play it safe and follow the norm were actually the ones that were able to get back to work faster and make sure they stayed at work when the next uncertainty strikes. But if you try to beat the certain, chaos will result.
Business is all about planning, and it’s only natural to dwell on “what if” when things don’t go our way. What could have been done differently to avoid the current situation is something that has given sleepless nights to many organizations’ heads and team managers. It’s not easy for us as a human to let go off, but doing just that is key to surviving any adversity. It’s a simple thumb rule - don’t dwell on things that are out of your control. What is done is done. What about now? Now it’s your chance to turn pointless What-if Questions into a map to move your strategies in the right direction.
When uncertainty makes it difficult for you to make important decisions, it is always advised to take a back seat. Take stock of the past data, future projections and experiences of those who have had assisted the organization in the past to deal with difficult times. It's also important to stay informed about the new policies and guidelines you should be implemented during the course. What are the tools that you must deploy to deal with the current situation as well as prepare your organization for the future? Do you have an aggressive marketing strategy to communicate changes to customers? For instance; if your sales team is now expected to close deals virtually, you know that you are required to provide them with a certain amount of training to use digital tools. In the same scenario is TRUST is a major concern for your target audience, your task as a Manager would be to provide your potential customers with a branded experience that exudes authenticity and trust. Even a small step like asking your sales team to always wear their corporate t-shirts while taking sales video calls can make a huge difference.
This is a big one! In the wake of the pandemic, recently a lot of eCommerce companies urged their customers to reflect hard on whether they really need to buy the product. The message was loud and clear that the organizations wanted to ensure that their staff and their current needs are taken good care of. This is just a small example of setting priorities when uncertainty strikes but can have a big positive impact on employees and their overall well-being. Similarly, for any organization going through a tough time focusing on the BIG THREE is of utmost importance. What are the three critical aspects of your business that you want to focus on? Is it cutting down on expenses to maintain a healthy cash flow? Is it the wellness of your employees? Is it dividing the workload between different departments so everyone can have a work-life balance? Think clearly and then form strategies that truly provide your business with ample opportunities to fight adversity, including effective sales objection handling examples.
It’s never a good idea to work in isolation, especially during a crisis. We need to work together! The best managers understand the importance of people and are not afraid to reach out and ask for help. It is our relationships, both business and personal that build the foundation of survival and change. Communicate your challenges, fears, goals and without any pre-bias embrace, the feedback and guidance provided. Allow lots of people to contribute with their experience, ideas and opinions. All this will help you chart out a clear
Nothing in life comes with guarantees, There’ll always be obstacles that would test your resilience. A good business person is one who doesn't succumb to uncertainties and finds a way around it - that works in favour of both the organization and its stakeholders. It may seem cliché, but sometimes the darkest storm clouds really do come with a silver lining. Having a positive mental attitude, determination and resilience to sail through the storm can strengthen the power to bounce back from adversities.