How do you make the best-informed decisions that support the achievement of your objectives? There is a systematic way to anticipate threats and identify opportunities, and it provides valuable information that leads to implementing effective action plans.
After you have clearly articulated your objectives, including the expected outcomes and how they will be measured, the next step is to contemplate the external and environment in which you seek to achieve those objectives. I refer to it as “reflect” in the managing uncertainty system.
The external environment may include the factors such as: political, economic, socio-cultural, technological, legal, and the competitive environment. These are generally not within your control.
The internal environment may include: governance, organizational structure, roles and accountabilities, policies, objectives, capabilities understood in terms of resources and knowledge, information systems and flows, relationships with and perceptions of internal stakeholders, and extent of contractual relationships. These are generally within your control.
There are three benefits to reflecting on your environment when done in a brainstorming session with your management team. First, it communicates objectives. As simple as this sounds, it is amazing how many organizations don’t communicate their objectives. Second, it provides a learning opportunity. People share their perspectives and learn from others as well. The third benefit is that it promotes team building through the exchange of ideas.
It takes a little time, and is best done in a group setting, but it will give you greater insight on factors that could be a source of uncertainty to your organization, and thereby enable you to anticipate threats and identify opportunities, all of which contributes to improved performance.
It’s all about managing uncertainty, and having this information forms the foundation for making good decisions going forward.
Don’t wait for opportunity – create it!