It’s like building on shifting sand. Uncertainty our new normal

At the core of the Thinking it Better philosophy is to help teams think better about the way they work. If ever there was a driver to this it is now. Whatever function you team fulfils be it in the public sector, private business or charity, your work is under different rules.

Your customers may have changed the way they buy. They may have different priorities. The products or services they want may be different. How you deliver will have changed. How your team works together is not the same and will not go back to pre-Covid-19 ways of working.

Everything is uncertain.

Your people, however, will crave certainty. We all want to know clearly what is expected from us. We work well when we know our workload. It’s a survival instinct. For some any lack of certainty can cause great anxiety.

How can we help individuals and teams be resilient and even thrive in the current climate?

How often in the past have we challenged teams to ‘think outside the box’ and found the box is more or less the same in 6 months’ time? As an MD I undertook a whole company reorganization because the company had grown so rapidly we had become dysfunctional. This involved everyone including me, moving desks. 6 months down the line, after HR had consulted with people, teams had been given freedom to determine their preferences and individuals needs had been considered, nothing had changed! People liked the certainty. We had to create a massive disruption to instigate the moves everyone had agreed.

We don’t like change.

We will always go to what we know.

The need for certainty has to change.

Humans are very adaptive to new circumstances. Resilience isn’t digging in and toughing it out. Resilience is being able to adapt and survive. Thinking resilience better is a process to adjust mindset. The best teams see uncertainty as a catalyst to continually review and improve what they do and how they do it. BUT, continuous improvement of what? Refining ways that are no longer relevant is not likely to make them work better in your new environment.

Continuous adaptation to a new environment is the way top teams think.

Just consider how brilliant new products or services come to dominate a market. Take Google, Apple, Microsoft, Virgin, as examples of business which came into markets which were either new or didn’t exist. If you read the biographies of the founders you will notice how they all thrived on uncertainty. In their fledgling years, the only thing that was certain was they were uncertain, usually about everything other than their own ability to find a way through. They continually adapted for their customers with new products and created new dreams about different ways of living, consuming, and working.

Sometimes teams need help to think resilience better. They can only see disruption to their certainty. Maybe moving to a mindset which embraces uncertainty will help them become more resilient, more productive and happier.

TiB can help your teams thrive in our uncertain times.


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