Tag Archives: Elvis Has Left The Mountain

Uncertainty in Leadership Redux


“…if it is not apparent to you yet, it will be soon: there is no magic bullet for this economic crisis…much as we want to think this will soon be over, that is highly unlikely.  We are going to have to learn to live with a lot more uncertainty for a lot longer than our generation has ever experienced.” so writes Thomas L. Friedman in his latest op-ed Elvis Has Left The Mountain published in the New York Times.

That leaders have to learn to live with uncertainty is—in a bit of sad irony—quite certain.  “I simply don’t know the answer, but I have some ideas about what we can do.” may become the single most credible thing you can say in the current economic morass, assuming of course that you DO have some ideas.  Leaders who are most successful in turbulent organizational environments exhibit four complimentary and reinforcing capabilities; (1) context setting agility; (2) stakeholder agility; (3) creative agility; and (4) self-leadership agility, according to Bill Joiner and Stephen Josephs co-authors of Leadership Agility.  Success comes from focusing on the outcomes you need, building support for your initiatives, transforming problems into results, and using your actions as opportunities to transform yourself as a leader.

If you’re leading in today’s environment, ramping up your “A” game and being obsessively great at “Plan B” are essential for success.  When your association’s reserve funds lose 50% of their value in the stock market downturn or your members abandon your trade show or other events due to a corporate ban on travel, budget cut-backs or lay-offs there’s too little time to craft alternative strategies.  If you’ve got a plan or if you’re in the midst of making one, think it through carefully and get the alternatives down in writing.  Share them with others and be open to questioning of your assumptions.  Crisis planning is a team sport and it’s not just for natural disasters or terrorist attacks anymore.  If revenues from your annual meeting, membership, publication sales, seminars or web events fall-off by 10%, 18% or 35% what will you do first and then next?  Being agile, adapting your strategy, leveraging “Plan B” and thinking forward are essential to your success and survivability in the face of today’s and tomorrow’s uncertainty.  So, what’s your plan again?

Copyright © 2009  Kerry C. Stackpole, CAE IOM   Visit the original article at:  http://www.neoterica.com/blog/2009/02/uncertainty-in-leadership-redux