Uncertainty is everywhere. It impacts change initiatives and projects significantly.
Traditional change and project management approaches are based on linear processes with mechanisms like Risk Management to help manage the impact of uncertainty. However, we are working in environments where uncertainty is high, higher and higher with each passing year, impacted by changing consumer preferences, global events, easier communications and transportation, the pace of innovation and the pace of technological advancement. Being successful means being able to find a way through these emerging environments effectively.
Increasingly we find change initiatives setting off without really knowing how to achieve the outcomes they are seeking, or alternatively knowing what their solution is without understanding the outcomes that will result. Responding to these emerging trends means that change initiatives need to have a sense of exploration built in, seeking to learn what the best outcomes and solutions are. A major constraint is often the Business Case process which demands that there is a need to demonstrate that you know the solution and outcomes before you start. This then restricts the exploration voyage and the ability for people to learn, explore and shift their views during the implementation phase.
Uncertainty is having a huge impact on change management and project management practices, which often resist the reality of an emerging situation, thinking it can be controlled rather than fully embracing it. Embracing uncertainty is an opportunity to learn, explore and create successful change that matches the complex environment you’re working in.