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10 Tips for Uncertainty - neither the 'old' or 'new' - just our ‘normal’.

The 'brain as a bio-computer' metaphor is useful (to a point) and it certainly works to understand why we so hate change. It's not the change itself but the uncertainty it implies so much so that studies show we'd prefer to know that a future event will definitely be adverse rather than not be sure whether it will be good or bad. But what if we took a neutral stance on uncertainty? or even embraced it? If we can't plan, then we are can, at least, be better prepared with these 10 tips :

1. Clarify your Intent - Distinguish what really matters but cannot be measured. Aim for the outcomes versus the outputs that you need from your effort e.g. not the sausage but the sizzle.

2. Authoritatively Doubt - Own your ways of knowing and then extend beyond by figuring out ‘most useful questions. These are the ones that are precise enough to prevent you asking a lot more questions later, Identify the 'known unknown's' & rank them by risk priority. Worry them by being vigilant to emergent data but don't let them worry you.

3. Learn in Real-time - Reflect in action to identify what is working and isn't. invite people to tell you there and then. Have the courage to fail & be proven wrong - often.

4. Fail Fast - Get ahead of change by experimenting but in small scale. Ensure feedback loops are quick and short. Find the ‘Goldilocks Effect’ for your processes- ‘just enough’ balance between controls and freedom.

5. Activate your Attention – Be aware of what draws you in and what you find hard versus what is in itself difficult. Spot what expectations you bring to each meeting or conversation. Pay more attention to where your attention is drawn.

6. Trust in the Biology of Trust - Build just-in-case relationships for just-in-time responses down the road. Take turns to mirror, mimic and model what works elsewhere - there's always others who are dealing with parallel problems.

7. Deliver with Confidence – Trust in well-tested parameters and then get out of your own way. Use the extra mental space to scan horizons and deal with the unforeseen.

8. Reason Deliberately - Adjust your thinking gears for different roads. Focus on improving the decision-making process to improve outcomes.

9. Change your Script - The story will end differently if the characters improvise a new script. Recast yourself as a solutions enabler, not provider, and see how the interplay changes on your team.

10. Respect with Irreverence – Be humble about what you know. Apply a ‘Beginners Mind’. Pay heed to history but also pull in people not directly involved to see things anew.

More complexity with its inherent uncertainty means that we all need to get better at the above - both for work & life. . To learn how to implement ideas such as these for your team or business, email


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