Operations & resources

Managing uncertainty

We are currently living in uncertain times. News reports continue to talk about the cost of living crisis, uncertainty over energy prices, strike action by unions, rising cost of raw materials and the continuing war in Ukraine. All of this is impacting business no matter what the size of your organisation. It is important to remember that there are several consequences of all this change.

Here are just a few:

  • fluctuating morale
  • inconsistent communication throughout the organisation
  • insecure employees
  • reduced customer loyalty
  • increased employee turnover
  • higher than normal business expenses
  • senior management unsure of what direction to move in
  • vulnerability to competition

Successfully promoting the acceptance/embracing of change to your employees in this climate of uncertainty is one of your primary tasks.

Here are a few areas to consider:

  • keep the lines of communication open and honest throughout the organisation
  • don’t shoot the messenger who brings bad news
  • share as much information as you can, on a timely basis
  • consistently communicate business goals and direction to your team
  • share challenging news with your employees on a timely basis, don’t wait for them to find out on their own
  • don’t change things for the sake of change, think through the consequences in advance
  • recognise that most people fear change…the less they know about what’s going on, the more negative the effect it’ll have on their performance
  • encourage upward feedback of employee attitudes, concerns, issues, and frustrations
  • encourage ‘out of the box’ and reality thinking
  • reward employees who present unique ideas, solutions, or innovative approaches to new problems caused by change
  • don’t punish poor performance during a time of rapid accelerating change…rather, find out why it’s happening and how you, or the organisational culture are contributing to it
  • explain to employees that the changes you are going through are necessary to remain competitive and to continue to excel
  • reassure employees their position is secure in the new environment

Productivity factors

During periods of change, whether it’s due to restructuring, downsizing, reorganising, or a general re-evaluation of purpose, mission, company direction, the concern for employees as well as organisation productivity is at an all time high.

What is employee and organisation productivity and what are the essentials involved in attaining it?

Productivity is when an individual or organisation grows and achieves greater success with the least amount of wasted resources, effort, and time.

Examples are:

  • reduced employee turnover
  • high level of employee satisfaction and empowerment
  • profits that can sustain the organisation’s continued growth
  • market share that can contribute to the continuation of the business
  • effective communication throughout the organisation
  • effective communication in the marketplace
  • well-trained and motivated employees throughout the organisation
  • innovative product development and a sensitivity to what consumers want and need now, as well as what they will want and need in the future
  • leadership and vision
  • management team in touch with the reality of the marketplace as well as the internal issues within their own organisation
  • clear, established company direction uniformly communicated throughout the organisation
  • accountability at every level
  • definition of what success is for that organisation
  • commitment to the health of the community, whether that community is the local, national, or global population.

As a business coach I am often asked by my clients how they can improve their sales, management or overall business productivity. There is never one answer, as you can see from the above list… and it’s by no means a complete list of the issues worthy of being considered when you look at overall business’ productivity and effectiveness.

There are several key issues to consider:

  • employee, customer and market loyalty
  • your management style
  • your business culture
  • communication patterns and systems
  • your direction/vision/prime focus
  • competence levels of your employees and skill/competence gaps
  • your competitive positioning/USP
  • the perception(s) of your organisation in the marketplace (vendors, customers, competitors)
  • attitudes and perceptions of your organisation by your employees
  • your commitment to employee training and development

A lot to consider? Perhaps. But, if you want a productive organisation and not pay only lip service to productivity, you might want to spend some thinking time about these points, as well as other issues that affect your organisation.

Originally posted 2022-11-10 15:23:14.

Kathy Bassett
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Kathy Bassett

Kathy’s passion is working with owners of successful small to medium-sized companies. She can help you to bridge the gap between where you are now and where you really want to be, whether it is to grow your business long-term or to implement an exit strategy.

Managing uncertainty

by Kathy Bassett Time to read: 2 min