Uncertain Strategic Social Choices

by Jay Deragon on 10/10/2011

Are We Uncertain? Traditional business mindsets have attempted to develop strategies that help frame future certainty.  Creating strategic certainty helped build shareholder confidence, employee morale, customer loyalty and positive market sentiment.

Building strategic certainty was based on an analysis of numerous factors that led organizations to create strategies with high levels of certainty that was followed by results.

Today the same factors that historically enabled strategic certainty are creating uncertainty.  When consumer activity shifts it creates uncertainty in markets. When markets are uncertain it creates business uncertainty. Uncertainty surrounds us. Uncertainty breeds fear of the unknown for the people affected by change.

Change usually brings disruption and more uncertainty. During times of perceived uncertainty people usually look for certainty as a stabilizing force to help anchor the anxiety of the moment.

Where Do People and Organizations Find Certainty?

When what appears to be chaos surrounds us we anchor ourselves in two ways, in our beliefs and in our relations. Beliefs drive our behavior and relations reinforce our beliefs. We tend to surround ourselves with “like minded people” which helps us reinforce our perceptions of reality, whether good or bad. During uncertainty pessimist become more pessimistic and opportunist look for solutions amongst the chaos. Our certainty is reinforced by the relations we keep and the subsequent conversations create the outcomes. Outcomes are efforts of combined relations aimed at controlling or creating certainty, for better or worse.

Certainty can be defined as producing a preferred state. A preferred state of certainty has common output behaviors that “collective relations” use to attempt to control the definitions and outcomes of preferred states. The collective force of open and connected conversations  create a new certainty with possibilities during uncertain times. Conversations are what fuel the possibilities of the new certainty or rather solutions to that which seems uncertain.

Reorganization of relations and the subsequent conversations is the power of today’s web of technology, people and conversations. Collective conversations are the mechanism that is involved in learning and creating solutions. It closely parallels within the individual the processes of evolution by natural selection. However the selection of solutions by the people, from the people and for the people may fly in the face of traditional organizational, institutional and market selections of outcomes created by repeat behaviors of the past.

Today’s market selections are created by individual exchanges of ideas that attract millions of others to further the ideas and create new realities that are certain to some but uncertain to the many. To be certain about strategic choices leaders must learn to create and follow uncertainty.

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