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Navigating Uncertainty – Developing The Skills And Mindset For Effective Strategic Planning

Written by: Manas Kumar Mahanandia, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

We have a propensity to withdraw and adhere to the status quo during uncertain times. We develop a kind of myopia and concentrate on our most urgent choices, such as how to maintain the safety and health of our families, how to keep our bosses pleased, or, if we have lost our jobs, how to find new ones as soon as possible. It might be challenging to find the time, drive, and mental capacity to consider long-term issues when we're feeling overburdened.

businessman manager holding magnifier glass with virtual target

Nevertheless, despite the difficulties they bring, protracted periods of uncertainty also present a unique window of opportunity for strategic planning. The illusion of complete control and predictability exists in every situation, and when it is dispelled, it can help us see the enormous range of options available to us.


Investigate All Possibilities, Including The Absurb.


In times of apprehension, anything might happen. The range of potential consequences can be overwhelming, and even when we intellectually comprehend them, we frequently avoid confronting our worst-case situations. However, explicitly thinking about the most unlikely situations might make them less frightening, allowing you to analyze your options and make more effective plans.


Dorie, one of us, worked with a company that was creating budgets outlining what it would do if the pandemic caused revenue decreases of 5%, 10%, or 20% for the entire year. He was persuaded by Dorie to design a situation in which 50% of the revenue disappeared. Fortunately, the impending financial doom did not materialize. In contrast to other organizations that didn't even consider such a possibility, his group had a considerably better chance of succeeding because it was prepared for whatever scenario might arise.


Similar to this, if you're looking for work, think about making plans for not only the most probable outcomes, but also ones in which you lose your job and your spouse does as well, or in which you're unemployed for twice as long as you anticipate. Although considering these scenarios can be difficult, planning out exactly how you would respond to them can be helpful. You can also establish triggers for action, such as "If I haven't found a job by February, I'll relocate to a cheaper apartment or rent the spare room." This can help prevent subsequent grave situations, such as having to sell your home or live with relatives, from occurring.


Visualize The Ideal Future You Could Have.


Of all things, strategic planning involves more than merely imagining the worst-case scenario. Considering opportunities and ideas that may have never occurred to you before is equally crucial. Challenge the assumptions you have about yourself, such as "I've never done that kind of work before, so I wouldn't be a good fit." Consider other ways you could utilize your abilities and pursue your passions, both at work and in other areas of your life. Would a three-day workweek allow you more time for childcare or business endeavors? The more carefully you consider your options, the more ready you will be to take action when an opportunity presents itself.


Even though it may seem straightforward, planning for the worst is frequently even harder than imagining the best-case scenario. Here are some strategies to get you going. Explore your most difficult experiences—challenges you faced during the epidemic, for instance—and consider any innovative strategies or modifications you made to deal with them for inspiration. Perhaps you found life without the drudgery of a daily commute difficult at first but later transformed your travel time into a new exercise routine. This can imply that you ought to look into remote employment options in the future.


Create a personal highlights reel to aid in recalling your favorite moments. You can use the patterns you find as hints. For instance, if you frequently find enjoyment in mentoring colleagues, you can think about learning new coaching techniques or exploring methods to incorporate coaching more fully into your professional life bout learning new coaching techniques or exploring methods to incorporate coaching more fully into your professional life. Consider how you use your free time to gain an understanding of your values. One of David's clients recently left her job and has started writing a book. She had always had a passion for writing.


To discover new spheres and rising trends, look beyond your previous experience and current industry. One of David's former coworkers noted the interest in AI was increasing quickly a few years ago. Despite having no prior professional experience, he applied for and quickly obtained a position in an innovation unit that was dedicated to the creation and application of AI technology.


Develop Talents That Will Be Useful In The Future.


In normal times, it's customary to first decide what kind of career you want to have before working to get the abilities needed to do it. However, this might be a risky strategy during times of great uncertainty because the company you're concentrating on, or even the industry, may experience unanticipated disruptions. Instead, we advise putting "skills first." To attain your broad personal and professional goals, first, define the talents you'll need to develop. Then, decide which employment roles could be a good fit. One of our colleagues was dedicated to the goal of becoming a "global leader." He decided that he needed to develop his multicultural communication abilities to accomplish that high-level aim. To recognize and develop new skills, we recommend the following strategies:


Look for ways to put new abilities into practice in your existing position. The colleague I just mentioned made an effort to build relationships with colleagues from very different backgrounds to better understand their varied perspectives, without altering his formal function in any way.


Examine the courses and programs offered online. Several courses on managing across cultures, boosting confidence, and avoiding rookie errors were invested in by our colleague.


Through informal mentoring or formal coaching, connect with the individuals you can learn from. Your network is your biggest educational resource, and when the individuals in it become aware of your developing skill set, they may also be able to advocate for you in the future. Our colleague requested that a mentor conceal her during specific conversations and meetings so she could observe how he handled various situations, giving her valuable real-world perspective.


Begin Modestly.


Concentrate on what you can change right away if you want to get past the paralysis of uncertainty. If your activities seem overwhelming, try "chunking" them into smaller, easier-to-manage tasks. Even though the thought of writing a book can be intimidating, a high-level plan can be written in a single afternoon. If you're unsure of what to prioritize, start with a few "no regrets" moves—moves like evaluating your resume or upgrading your social media profile—that will be helpful regardless of shifting circumstances. Finally, ask yourself: "What small thing can I do today to make me happier?" or "What might I accomplish if you gave me a week?"


One executive we know was thinking about changing careers, but after years of concentrating only on his day-to-day duties, he found the idea of rebuilding his network and talents to be quite intimidating. To learn more about other jobs and organizations, he decided to set up five calls per week with people in his network, including college friends, former clients, and people he knew socially. These calls would allow him to catch up on news in their respective businesses. A few months later, several of those individuals began giving him employment offers they believed would be pertinent, and he eventually accepted one of them.


Be Harsh In Deciding What You Must Discard.


Making plans for an uncertain future involves more than just developing new skills and networking. Making wise choices regarding who and what to let go of is another important aspect of this. Of course, letting go of something you've put a lot of time, work, and energy into is difficult. And it's easy to look back with nostalgia, especially when the present is unclear. However, moving on entails being aware of what is no longer helpful and permitting yourself to look for something different.


One of David's coworkers had long dreamed of having a portfolio career that included being a company board member. She became aware that she was not on track to achieve that goal because she chronically filled her calendar with work and volunteer obligations. Once she understood the opportunity cost, she started to hand off additional duties as she considered the opportunity cost of her existing schedule. She devised formal delivery strategies, a script for declining requests and expressing "no" with more confidence and practiced such delicate interactions. She had a lot more time and space to look at directing chances once she got rid of the superfluous duties that were weighing her down.


Even though humans are evolved to fear uncertainty, there is no escaping it. Instead, it is preferable to see uncertainty as a chance for progress, whether that involves looking into new professions, jobs, or abilities.


There are no simple solutions, but armed with the aforementioned tactics, you'll be prepared to face whatever the future holds. So, uphold whatever you are doing or what you are yet to do to meet up with your target.


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Manas Kumar Mahanandia, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Manas Kumar is working as an Educator in the Ministry of Education of UAE. He has trained an educated more than 10K of students and professionals across the globe. In addition to his teaching, he is a life coach, entrepreneur, educator, and a blockchain influencer. He recently became a founding member of the World Metaverse Council, where he may share his knowledge and expertise for the benefit of the metaverse community in UAE. In barely two years, he became well-known and regarded as a life coach in Dubai. He has also earned honors and awards from many prestigious notables in the UAE. His Mission is to help businesses build winning teams and educate individuals all around the world.

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