Predictability or the lack there of….

Most organizations can do well when conditions are calm, but only the great ones are able to thrive when conditions become extreme, chaotic and hostile. It’s in these extreme conditions that the great teams take the lead. No matter where you turn in Zimbabwe’s economy, there’s no likelihood of an easy ride—we have moved into an economy and environment where the measured risks of the past seem tame compared to what we face today. Who knows what tomorrow will hold? Your guess is as good as mine.

So what happens in an unpredictable environment?  Do we just let whatever will be- be?
 What I see typically happening in this economy is also happening in our homes, schools, churches and other organized structures. Leaders immediately begin to strategise (because there clearly is a problem) and are excellent at strategy formulation (a direct result of Zimbabwe having the highest literacy rate on the continent ).  So no problem right? Wrong! Getting done what is on paper seems easy enough until it has to be done,  nothing works the way it should ‘in theory’ and the sum total result is complete lack of progress and hence none execution. Stemming directly from none execution comes ambling along a loss of focus and subsequent disengagement, This then catapults into the next problem- confusion. As confusion peaks the noose tightens and people lose confidence in their own organizations, families, churches, education system etc. With a loss of confidence comes a loss of focus. You have fewer resources, fewer people, more confusion. People try to do two or three jobs at once. A person trying to do two jobs has half the focus of a person doing one job, and half the likelihood of doing either job well. Then comes the kick of a most certainly dying horse- uncertainty- on an uncertain road full of pitfalls, everyone decelerates: it’s not called a “slowdown” for nothing.
Predictability or the lack there of….

So what do we do?
First and foremost, reduce uncertainty....  adopt clear policies and act decisively. In crisis time, communication carries more significance and requires greater transparency. Simply tell the story. Talk about what is next. Make it clear even if what is made clear is not very positive.

Then execute. In difficult times, winning performance depends on precise execution. Here the advantage goes not necessarily to the physically strongest person, or to the blue chip company but to the team that executes with the greatest precision. When  “in the straits,” you cannot afford to pilot blind, nor can you afford to be distracted by a lot of less important flashing lights and buzzing horns. You’ve got to know exactly where you are  and keep score.

Speed. Precision is coupled by speed. A puff adder strikes at a speed of  7 metres per second meaning if you get a body part in the strike zone, and the puff adder has a mind to bite you... there isn't anyway short of a miracle that you'll escape without a bite...

Then comes my favorite (which should really be applied in predictable and unpredictable times)- doing more with less. Focus on building customer and employee loyalty. Then  push the “reset” button to align the organization around those priorities. Cut off fat ;run lean and mean.

‘You are exposed to the improbable only if you let it control you. You always control what you do.’
–Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Best Shingi


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