• Maria Hvorostovsky

How Do You Plan for Uncertainty?

Updated: Dec 22, 2018

Brexit is rapidly turning into a Rubix cube of possibilities. 


What we do know for certain is that change and uncertainty are inevitable.


With EU negotiations underway, we examine what UK businesses can do to harness this uncertainty to ensure they come out on top. 

Change and transformation have always been part and parcel of doing business but the current climate stands to test even the hardiest of organisations.


The Consequences of Getting it Wrong


The success rate of those implementing major change initiatives is poor. A poll of global senior executives by the Strategy and Katzenbach Center judged just 54% of such programmes to be successful.

Three common obstacles typically abound:

1.    Change fatigue – This occurs when change is poorly thought through, rolled out too fast, or put in place without sufficient preparation.

2.    Change is not sustained over time – Here change is big bang, with inadequate resources and skills put in place to support the change over time.

3.    Lack of input from those at lower levels - Change initiatives planned without input from those at lower levels leads to a lack of understanding and significantly increased resistance.

So how do you plan for change and uncertainty in a way that maximises your chances of success?

Bring in the Experts

Define what your business wants to achieve and understand, map the way forward, generate ideas and engage all stakeholders and decision makers.

Conduct an Impact Assessment

Do your research and conduct a full impact assessment and analysis. This goes beyond simple ‘hard Brexit’ and ‘soft Brexit’. It’s about:

  • Spelling out the key variables

  • Defining the extent of any changes proposed

  • Determining the key differences

  • Understanding their possible effects

  • Prioritising the possible effects from the key differences

  • Developing strategies and action plans


Model and Plan for all Eventualities


Keep it neutral and plan for all eventualities; not just the ones you want or those that seem most likely. If the last 18 months have taught us anything it is not to become complacent.


Remember, the goal is to acknowledge and plan for uncertainty, not to predict what will happen.


Decisions are not made to eliminate uncertainty but instead to develop fully tested models and scenario plans to effectively manage change.


The business then decides whether to dedicate equal resources to preparing for every eventuality or to take a more strategic and bullish approach.


Models need to be continually reviewed, with decision-making remaining fluid enough to implement change strategies as one position becomes more or less likely.


Do you know what Brexit means for you and your business? How are you preparing? 


Email us your thoughts.