How To Escape The Grey Zone Of Uncertainty!
Facing uncertainty is a certainty in every business leader’s life. When there’s insufficient information to make confident decisions, or conflicting information pulling you in opposite directions, it can quickly plunge you into a Grey Zone of uncertainty.
• “Should I rationalize my workforce now or ride out the storm?”
• “Will this new product create opportunity or greater risk?”
• “Should I invest in a much needed, high cost resource or save costs but drown in overload?”
What are the Dangers of the Grey Zone?
When uncertainty is prolonged business performance can suffer because:
• Focus is shifted away from other important business areas.
• Tension increases stress levels and morale decreases.
• Performance declines due to lack of direction, cohesion and focus.
• The risk of making impulsive decisions increases.
• Heightened stress inhibits cognitive resourcefulness and rational thinking, which are the faculties we need most when stuck in the grey zone.
How to escape the Grey Zone and restore clarity, direction and focus
The easiest way to escape the Grey Zone is to STOP, take a step back, and invest time in building the foundations for certainty.
1. Clarify Your Objectives
You can’t have grey areas woven into your objectives if you want to escape the grey zone. Define and communicate EXACTLY what you’re aiming for, by when and identify clear measures of success.
When you and your team know exactly what needs to be achieved, it’s much easier to formulate, co-ordinate and execute a plan that will get you to your destination.
2. Get Informed
Koffi Annan said, “Knowledge is power; Information is liberating.” If you want to escape the grey zone, gathering reliable information is not only invaluable, it’s essential.
Think about your situation and write down all the assumptions you’re making, then do your homework and establish the facts. Building an arsenal of verifiable facts and concrete insights will support you in making well-informed decisions, eliminating guesswork and escaping the grey zone.
As Gary Wilde says, “Leaders aren’t expected to be right all the time, but they are expected to do the right thing all the time.”
So, if you’ve made inaccurate assumptions, put your pride aside and make it right. That’s how you build a business that delivers killer results, and people will admire you for this quality.
3. Ask For Help
Too many leaders believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness and avoid it, to their own detriment. Contrary to this common misconception, asking for advice is a sign of maturity, dexterity and resourcefulness, qualities everyone looks for in a leader.
So, phone a friend, get your staff to share ideas and chip in, find a good consultant to help solve a technical challenge, or contract a business coach to guide you out of the grey zone.
People generally feel good about being able to contribute, and you’ll feel great about escaping the grey zone and seeing your business fly again.
4. Expand Your Options
Choice is a powerful antidote to feeling powerless or being at the mercy of our circumstances. To avoid or escape the grey zone, we need to have options, alternatives, or contingency plans at our disposal, as well as an exit strategy.
Even when your options aren’t obvious at first glance, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
You just have to look for them, and don’t stop until you find them because you
WILL find them.
5. See The Upside
When stuck in the grey zone, it’s easy to make the mistake of dwelling on the problem and ‘what can go wrong’. But this simply fuels the stress response and keeps you stuck inside the problem.
Take a moment to reflect on what’s going right, what you can be grateful for, what you’ve learnt through the experience and what it will feel like when the problem is solved.
Remember, uncertainty always precedes clarity, and when you take time to see the upside, the ensuing resourceful emotional state, makes it far more likely to find a solution sooner.
6. Get It Going
If we wait until things are ‘perfect’ and are not making decisions or moving forward as a result, we’re literally sentencing ourselves to poverty. As Michael Bloomberg said, “You don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it going.”
An imperfect product, or service that adds value and generates profit, or a solution that solves most of the problem, is better than a perfect product or service that never gets launched, or a perfect solution that never gets implemented.
Get it going! Launch products and services, and implement solutions to problems when they’re good enough, then make new decisions to correct your course along the way and refine things over time.
Back to Basics
Over the last two decades I’ve asked many successful entrepreneurs and executives what the secret to their success is, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard, “I get the basics right.”
Avoiding or escaping the grey zone isn’t rocket science, it’s mostly about getting the basics right. And when we get the basics right, we also lay the foundation that killer results are built on.
Here’s to staying out of the grey, and living in technicolor!
Business Coach & Breakthrough Specialist
P.S.1 If you’ve found tricks that work to escape the grey zone be sure to share them with us in the comments section. By modeling success we can color in all the grey areas.
P.S.2 To receive regular business success strategies, tips & tools subscribe to our Wilde Insights here