Living positively with uncertainty

We live in weird times.  

But like it or not; they are the times we live in. 

Accordingly, here are some thoughts for navigating positively.

COVID impacts on entities

As a professional adviser and someone who wears many hats, I am lucky to see into a wide range of organisations across New Zealand.  Businesses large and small, and charities and other NFP organisations alike. 

What is common across all these is that the organisations, and the people within them, are all impacted by these COVID influenced times we live in.   However, this impact is perhaps most notable in its diversity. And, in its inequity.

There are sadly many examples of organisations in significant, and in some cases, existential trouble and pain.  Their past strategies and business models are not designed for this, and frankly many are not coping.  While the generous Government support is assisting many to carry on though this, in some cases this is akin to putting a sticking plaster on a past success strategy that is now unlikely to stop bleeding – because times have changed, in some cases forever. 

These painful challenges sadly tend to be reflected in similar adverse personal impacts on people within those organisations.

Conversely though, current examples also exist in our economy of organisations that are doing well.  In some cases, very well and experiencing great trading health.  Some in this category are surprised by this.  Some are almost embarrassed and in true “tall poppy” avoidance stye want to keep their heads down.  

Looking at the differences between the entities doing well and those not – a brutal reality is that it often comes down to luck rather than skill.  That is, a business model that has unexpectedly benefited from COVID induced changes in our economy and world through no prescience or deliberate brilliance on the organisation’s part. 

However, skill, learning from others, and taking appropriate action are still critically important as some organisations are able to change and pivot to meet and thrive in our new environment.

So what can you do?

Take action

And your first action should be to stop, create some clear thinking space and reassess where you are at.

Objectively reassess your organisation’s business model and strategy in light of the current environment. Is it realistically likely to continue to be sustainable and successful given all you know?

Remember; strategy is just choices.  

Good strategy is choices made based on best information possible, with a liberal dose of reality, and a helping of commitment.

It should also never be set in concrete.   Things change.  Lean from them.   Accept your previous strategy may no longer be appropriate.  Then respond accordingly.

Objectivity is key

We are all biased.Especially those invested in their organisations, financially, emotionally, and passionately.As such sometimes it can be hard to get up in your figurative helicopter in order to see the broader forest rather than just lost in the detail of the trees.

The assistance of outside objective thinkers in this regard is sometimes really beneficial.

You can only control what you can control

All too often people try and grapple with factors that are well outside of their control.This can be time, energy, and resource consuming.It’s also distracting and disheartening.

Ask yourself the question; is this within my control? If the answer is no, then move on to issues where your time and skills can make a difference.Your energy is better invested for the benefit of your organisation and what it exists for.

Concentrate only on factors within your control.

Protect yourself & your positivity/energy/wellbeing

And this starts with protecting your sanity and positive motivation.

Anyone else sick of talking/hearing constantly about COVID?

Our minds are goal seeking missiles.They latch onto targets consciously but also, and perhaps more importantly, subconsciously.They can easily get seduced by negative noise and clutter.This can block out the ability for the clear thinking needed.Such constant exposure to and focus on negative issues like COVID also sucks the personal energy required for the changes you do need to make.

Sadly, complaining is easy.But unless you use that frustration to make a positive change all you are doing is setting yourself up to hear more negativity.Especially when one enters the toxic feedback loop world of (anti) social media.

The positive alternative is to protect yourself by what you expose yourself to.Beware doom media and negative complainers.Understand what feeds your positivity, what spins your wheels.Then make sure you are getting enough of that in your life.

A simple positivity technique I use is to ensure that every day I reflect on what has been the best thing.And I really appreciate it.

Parting thought

We all currently live in a world of uncertainty. 

Yet all of us lucky enough to live in New Zealand, despite current challenges, would also do well to remember that New Zealand remains among the best countries in which to be born, educated, start a business, and live in safety with easy access to healthcare, income security, and a comfortable retirement. 

In a global context; our “challenges” would be seen as dreams of aspiration for a huge proportion of the world’s population.

Be thankful.  Be even better.

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Authors

Craig Fisher
Consultant