The Uncertainty Mindset 2019-2020

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#23: Undeniable uncertainty

Vaughn Tan22nd January 2021 at 1:58pm

This issue about awareness of uncertainty. Uncertainty is almost omnipresent but is often hard to perceive, mistaken for risk, or easy to ignore—until events (in this case coronavirus) make it undeniable.

Being prepared for uncertainty requires adaptability, which comes from having spare or easily redeployable resources. Invariably, being ready for uncertainty looks inefficient in apparently stable times. On the other hand, highly optimised systems that are very adapted to specific conditions perform well under those conditions but fall apart when there is sudden and unexpected change.

Modern management and strategy principles seem to be driven by the risk mindset; they're about creating highly optimised, super-adapted teams and organizations that aren't resilient or adaptable in uncertain times.

An uncertainty mindset would be less optimised but more adaptable:

  1. Take small but immediate actions that are designed to limit commitment while allowing exploration of the changing situation.
  2. Don’t wait for validated strategies to become available before taking action.
  3. Don’t try to apply risk mindset to optimize actions.
  4. Invest time and effort to immediately understand and clearly articulate not only what goals are prioritized but also what tradeoffs should be made to achieve those goals.

With a guide to simple but satisfying coronavirus beverages by Equal Parts Eddie, globetrotting drinks industry éminence grise.

You can find it here: #23: Undeniable uncertainty