How to Lead During Periods of Uncertainty

By Rita Trehan

Business transformation expert, Rita Trehan, discusses the 7 actions that should be practised by CEOs and business owners to ensure their businesses prosper during periods of uncertainty.


It seems that uncertainty is “the new black” for businesses today, and it’s a fashion trend that needs to be put with last season’s stock.

A rising state of popularism within global macroeconomics, the apparent failing of current corporate governance, the threat of new entrants for established businesses highlight a stark reality. Companies must embrace uncertainty and position themselves for success by not looking at all the things that can erode their business, but instead by facing uncertainty from the vantage point that everything is possible and then seeking options, alternatives and solutions that position them for the new age of work.

In my opinion, there are a series of actions that can be pursued to ensure that businesses prosper and claim a stake in the future. Leading during periods of uncertainty requires paying attention to the following: 


1.  Focus and disciplined prioritisation

“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” is a famous phrase for a reason. In a dynamic and constantly evolving world, leaders must be sure on what they need to focus on. Throwing time, energy and resources into an issue that frankly consumes energy, resources and cost but doesn’t create accretive value is wasteful and costly. Companies that turn their attention to enhancing the edges rather than tinkering with the core of their business are more likely to unleash potential and position their business for success.

If management can analyse and justify that the current system is working successfully, can understand why it is fruitful and can honestly say that it is beneficial for all parties involved, then it begs the question – why change it? In fact, focusing on big change may be more of a hindrance than a help.

On the other hand, being able to recognise when it is time to change is a skill that is invaluable. Change is not just inevitable, it is paramount for longevity, so if you are unable to identify when it is time to adapt or even innovate, then a business will not survive.

Complacency, or even innocent ignorance can make business leaders believe they won’t and can’t fail. Don’t fall into the trap of seeing everything through rose-tinted glasses. With change brings the possibility of a failed effort, but to continue with the cliché, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

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About the Author

Rita Trehan is a renowned business transformation expert with over 20 years of experience, and a self-confessed workaholic and ideas junkie. Although she cut her teeth in the realm of HR, her ambition and imagination have driven her beyond such parameters to become the strategy guru, and often the energy, behind a host of successful CEOs worldwide. Rita is the CEO of Dare Worldwide, a business consultancy firm, and the author of ‘Unleashing Capacity’, a book that explores HR transformation. She also frequently speaks on the subject at events and conferences.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.