5 Strategies for Managing Uncertainty

The challenges of the business environment are penetrating both private and public organizations at an alarming pace. As new business trends, compliance issues and changes in government policies face us, many leaders at the helm of organizations struggle to make ends meet. The province of Ontario is no different. Uncertainty looms as CEOs of public sector organizations watch in despair the spate of budget cuts and withdrawal of funding for several programs. In these rapidly changing times, if organizations are to remain viable and relevant then leaders must adopt a proactive approach to change. It is a time to take stock of how well your organization will fare amidst the turbulence. 

Here are 5 top strategies to take in ensuring your organization’s readiness: 

  1. Evaluate Your Organization and Build on the Strengths
    There is a popular trend for leaders to embark on a change path before recognizing the unique capabilities and strengths of their organization. No two organizations are exactly the same, so what works for one may not work for another. As such, exercise caution and benchmark sparingly. When laying out intervention strategies to combat change or achieve operational efficiencies, a leader should remember the intangible assets like the norms, mind-sets and commitment of employees. In so doing, integrating structural, decisional and work-flow changes will become more seamless. Sometimes there is no serious need for a re-organization or re-structuring but fixing of everyday processes and involving employees every step of the way.

  2. Create the Right Organizational Design
    Organizations incur efficiency losses when they find themselves locked in excessive bureaucratic layers. If your organization is painfully slow at executing business processes, it makes sense to examine how departments are set up and revise the layout of internal processes. The inefficiencies observed are often excessive layers of decision-making, duplicated operational procedures and underutilization of the capabilities of employees. In a digital era, where information is rapid and multi-directional, a better approach is to trim organizations of excessive bureaucratic layers and complex decision-making models. This leads to an enhanced blending of human potential and organizational design structures and provides for a more flexible and adaptable structure that can rapidly adjust to changes coming from external forces.

  3. Clear Leadership Direction
    During chaos and uncertainty people look to their leaders for direction. With this expectation, leaders must scan the external environment to spot early signs of impending change. In doing so, leaders must become actively involved in monitoring how external changes will ultimately impact the organization. As this is time of multiple perspectives and rapid circulation of half-truths, leaders must anticipate the politics and set an agenda that involves interaction with all levels of staff. People must understand the external challenges and circulating information must be clarified. Leaders should take the time to listen, and with the collective effort of staff reshape the organizational strategic path in readiness for change.

  4. Sound Financial Management Practices
    As an understanding of financial issues is a critical aspect of governance for a leader, it is essential that leaders gain a level of business acumen that provides a knowledge base for cutting through the financial dilemmas. In fact, in times of uncertainty the financial factors that impact an organization should be understood by the whole leadership team. The leadership team has a responsibility to enforce a culture of sound financial principles and compliance to financial regulations.

  5. Allocation of Resources
    Unnecessary service levels and inefficient processes unnecessarily drain the resources of an organization, sometimes unnoticed by the leadership. Conducting an internal audit to see how resources are allocated can reveal wasteful practices. Many organizations have invested in technology to modernize business processes and practices. However, there are manual processes that are still being conducted, leaving electronic systems underutilized. Sometimes even the service levels that we have grown accustomed to offering clients represent hidden financial “leaks”. There are instances where the usage rate does not justify the service availability. Leaders must ensure resources are meaningfully employed to meet the priorities of the organization.

Since the uncertainties of the external environment are not going to change anytime soon, it is important to assess your organization to see the possible obstacles and existing strengths. During these turbulent times, don’t just await the unexpected but introduce safeguards to protect and strengthen your organization. 

At Pesce & Associates, our consultants have years of experience in organizational assessment and effectiveness. If you are looking to achieve greater operational efficiency and a more appropriate structural design, we have the expertise to transform your organization.

For more information, please visit our website at www.pesceassociates.com or contact Elizabeth Hill, Managing Partner, at 416-491-1501 extension 23.


Posted May 31/19 by Pesce & Associates