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Managers and Leaders Who Can: How you survive and succeed in the new economy by Ruth Spellman

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CHAPTER 3
MANAGING CHANGE AND UNCERTAINTY
All managers must be able to deal with ambiguity – comfortable straight lines don’t work any more.
Stephen Howard, Chief Executive, Business in the Community
 
In today’s turbulent business environment, the only certainty is uncertainty. The very speed of organisational change sometimes leaves managers gasping for breath.
Technological innovations, changing consumer preferences and a challenging economic environment mean that no business can remain static for very long. This is good news in one way. We are part of a dynamic economy in which there will always be opportunity for growth, unsatisfied demand and a number of potential sources of competitive advantage.
The ambiguity and uncertainty that run alongside this constant upheaval, however, pose enormous challenges for those at the helm of organisations. Wherever you look in the public or private sector, you see leaders and managers trying to balance the books and compete for business while anticipating the next wave of change.
The old certainties just don’t exist anymore. Witness the recent credit crisis, which caused seismic shockwaves across the world as it became clear that the financial institutions previously perceived as ‘safe’ were in danger of coming tumbling down. The fact that major banks could have collapsed without government intervention on an unprecedented scale has shaken the very foundations of everything we believed about our economy and the way business is conducted. ...

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