Strive to look for survival beyond uncertainty

Shelter Chieza : Change  Management

“I have often wondered why when driving at night if your headlights flash on an animal either on the road or by the roadside, its initial reaction is to freeze, which immobilises it. ”This appears to be the same state that most of our businesses are in. It seems uncertainty across the globe has gotten the better of them. The fact is that global uncertainty is not going away anytime soon, especially after witnessing a tumble of Chinese equity market earlier this year.As much as some companies adopting a wait and see attitude, inactivity and stagnancy is in reality a response.

I have often seen that those companies that are learning and researching during this period are in a better position than those that are not.

In uncertain business environments not everyone is affected equally. Some organisations have been known to thrive and make huge profits during such periods.

What distinguishes the company that survives from the one that folds is how they use the lessons learnt.

I can relate this to strategies used by the army.

The army does not go on leave just because there is peace in the nation but rather soldiers use the days training, sharpening their fighting strategies and arsenal in preparation for any eventualities.

It is therefore critical to sessions that you can title “Lessons learnt” in your daily or weekly meetings?

It encourages the thinking and innovativeness amongst employees while building capacity from within. Management have the mandate to drive change behaviours among employees.

At some point in your discussions, you will be able to unravel the issues that have held you back.

Be prepared to acknowledge failure and error. Be very tolerant when it comes to this culture of freedom to fail.

Make it alright to fail. It is okay to fail as long as reviews after the failure are done purposefully.

Use the basic strategy of what, how, why, when, where to solve this predicament.

In my early years at business school, a business doyen told me that it was okay that they discovered fatal mistakes early in their entrepreneurship journey and it is what has sharpened them now.

Now as a rookie, I was completely taken back by such words, of course they proved true later, its better to make mistakes in one’s infancy than later on in life.

It’s no big deal if the managing director fails to make that company a target. Grow a company that socialises errors.

You may need to revise your decision making structures.

As new information comes during uncertainty, it may be important to empower the junior managers.

These are probably the people that are closer to information than you and therefore can act faster.

The top managers have bigger strategic issues to concentrate on. Give less guidance, and save it for the big issues. I would rather have my top managers organising sharpening of skills courses and trainings.

Don’t ever forget that there will be some positive gains during this period. It’s not all doom and gloom as some people anticipate.

Be prepared to accept that as reward for your work, there is something positive that can come out.

I am reminded of an example my Theology teacher gave of a story that happened in 1973 in the Middle East.

Christians will understand how significant the Middle East wars are closely related to Christian genealogy.

It is said that the Egyptian forces once went to war against the Israelis and when they crossed the Suez Canal and got to Mount Sinai they managed to overwhelm their opponents which was beyond their anticipation.

But because they did not anticipate such success they did not totally crush the Israeli.

This gave the Israeli forces a chance to regroup and launch a counter attack which resulted in the defeating the Egyptians.

Be prepared at all times for success and change to happen. What good is a farmer who is waiting for the rains to come when their field is not yet prepared?

Will he start preparing the land when the rain comes? The best leaders are prepared for anything.

A changing regulatory environment must be anticipated in business. Be prepared to embrace the environmental or even financial policies that are most likely to be introduced.

Indigenisation laws are here to stay and a lot of companies may start crying foul because of lack of preparedness to deal with them.

Dealing with an unknown regulatory environment is fast becoming the new normal.

The decision of going “green” is being taken seriously worldwide, and this may mean new carbon taxes.

What is important for a company is to develop skills that deal with ever changing government policy.

And this is not peculiar to our nation only, even export businesses are facing the same challenge.

The coming in of businesses such as Uber that are involved in sharing pre-existing resources may mean that while you are still stuck in doing your own things, outsourcing of other services has taken over.

Times are uncertain now, there is increased competition and much tighter margins.

It is anticipated that uncertainty brings a lot of indecisiveness for most managers.

You may gather statistics and ratios of activity within the company, it may not be enough to help you erase the uncertainty.

We have to strive to look for survival beyond the uncertainty because uncertainty is here to stay.

Till next week, may God richly bless you!


Shelter Chieza is a Management Consultant. She holds over a decade of Management Experience. She can be contacted at [email protected]

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