In previous years words like volatility, instability, steady state were often used to describe the business economy. But this year, the big thinkers are using the word uncertainty which is a polite way of saying they haven’t got a clue.
Why is this?
We have a rise in the number of powerful dictators, ungoverned by rule of law, which means things can happen fast (think Ukraine, Taiwan) and we have an increasing number of hot spots that can go sideways quickly. We have instant (un-managed) global communications that can motivate billions of people overnight…another chicken gets sick in Wuhan, and the world contemplates lockdown, Donald Trump has a bad night sleep and it’s front page news, a container ship gets stuck in the Suez canal and the price of your iPhone goes up next day. So yes, the future is unpredictable. But, in reality, the future was ever thus.
In skiing we talk about stance and balance. It means finding your centre of mass and staying balanced over your skis relative to the slope, your current speed and snow conditions. Gravity is moving you forward but with a solid stance and properly balanced, you are ready for almost anything.
The same is true for businesses in times of uncertainty.
And most importantly:
Predicting the Future
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr,
"The future is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma." - Winston Churchill
And my favourite:
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." - Alan Kay
You might also like one of our older blogs (from 2020) - this talked about Covid; now other things are causing uncertainty: https://www.kingsfordconsulting.ca/blog/insidious-uncertainty--leading-in-a-time-of-crisis