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How to create certainty in a time of uncertainty

Life can be uncertain; that is one thing you can be certain about!

You can’t always control what is happening around you - the impact of COVID19 has demonstrated that, however by focusing on what you can control, can really help you to move forward.

As previous Head of Change for Essex County Council, 'change' and 'uncertainty were my middle names! You often hear people saying how much they dislike change... for most, what they are uncomfortable with is the uncertainty part – the unknown future. Most like a new car for example, however if you don’t know what change will look like, then that can be a different story.

Firstly it is good to note that certainty and control are two of our fundamental needs; so it is natural to feel discombobulated should something happen which is uncertain and out of your control.

So how do you create certainty in a time of uncertainty and bring back that element of control?

A tool I’ve used extensively over the last few months is scenario planning – what is the best case, worst case and likely case in terms of the situation? I had plans for each which covered timescales, financial impact, consequences, risks, impact on customers etc. as well as contingency plans in the event that the worst case scenario happened.

Being able to think in this way means you have a flexible plan with timescales – I knew what I needed to do, by when, in order to move my business forward.

Will it give you the answers in terms of things outside your control?...

No! What it will do however, is give you a structure within which to work, that provides you with a feeling of control in an otherwise uncertain environment.

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