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Newsletter - Sep 2015

 
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PM Essence
The Ladoo Game and Indian IT Companies
                                                                         - Navneet Bhusan, Founder Director, CRAFITTI CONSULTING

Ladoo is one of the most common sweet across India. In fact, Ladoos are distributed in India on almost every religious or social milestone of an Indian family. There are many metaphors in our language and our culture which use Ladoo to convey deeper meaning in less number of words.

 

For example, marriage is considered to be a Ladoo - one who eats it is also repentant and one who doesn't eat is also repentant. I have designed a simple game using the Ladoo metaphor and has been using for last seven years in multiple workshops and innovation classes to explain why people and hence companies get into a complacency mode and also to find out entrepreneurship or innovation potential of people.

Creativity

The Ladoo Game

All of us have various choices available at every point. Sometimes, we may have to create new choices. Usually we pick alternatives from available choices. There is a theory of rational decision making which says the human mind computes/calculates some sort of expected value of the choices in terms of benefits to pick up an alternative from available choices.

 

In the Ladoo Game you have four different Ladoos to choose from. You have to pick only one of the Ladoo as shown in figure below. Every Ladoo gives you two benefits – immediate hard cash in your hand and a probability to get $1 Million in a Lottery. 
Creativity

The probability varies from 1%, 5%, 10% and 15% for Ladoo A, Ladoo B, Ladoo C and Ladoo D respectively. Also with increasing probability of you getting $1 Million, the hard cash amount goes down from $2000 to $1000 and $500 from Ladoo A to Ladoo B and Ladoo C respectively. However, in Ladoo D, with increased probability of getting $1 Million, you have to pay $5000 instead of you receiving initial money. In multiple workshops with engineering and business 

students as well as companies across domains in India, we have found that 40%-50% of the respondents choose Ladoo A while 30%-40% choose Ladoo C. Only 5-10% opts for Ladoo B or Ladoo D. The Rationality Value theory tells us that the Expected Value of an alternative is the difference of expected gains/benefits and investment. Applied to all Ladoos this amount to Expected Value of a Ladoo = Probability x Prize + Initial Gain or ( - Initial investment).

 

For the four Ladoos, the next figure shows the rational calculations of Expected Value for each of the Ladoos. The Rational Value theory tells us Ladoo D will give the maximum gains; however, human beings give different weights to different parameters hence the variation in real life responses.

 

  • · Ladoo A guys are saying – Let me get what I am getting now ($2000) I know whether it is 1% or 15% it is same - I will not get it!
  • · Ladoo C guys want to get maximum of the both sides - certainty and uncertainty - thereby saying, I will not (- $5000) but still would like to maximize the probability of getting $1 Million in the sweepstakes. The optimization experts!
  • · Ladoo D is the Rational Value follower with objective analysis; he follows the rationality based on mathematical analysis or pure intuitive perspective of going for prize with whatever it takes. He is taking calculated risk.
  • · Ladoo B is the most perplexing! (may be caught in between A and C)

 

If one asks, who will you choose to run your business, you would like to hire Ladoo C guys. These are going to focus on optimizing your business. In a world that is predictable to a great extent and the speed of change is moderate to medium, these may be the best alternative. However, in a world which is going through massive high speed changes in multiple dimensions where uncertainty and change are the norms, only Ladoo D guys can give you options of thriving in the change as they are ready to invest to create the desired change.

 

Indian IT Companies missed Ladoo D

One point that emerges from Ladoo Game is that companies that are getting Ladoo A regularly will find it difficult to invest for Ladoo D – even if the rational value analysis says D is better. Obviously, if you are regularly winning in a game using certain tactics or methods, you would like to repeat the same winning methods. The problem is if the game is changing, rules are changing or different players are coming in, you may have to rethink your strategy. However, all the above factors are changing simultaneously; you have to move to a position of defining and creating the game rather than playing the game. In that scenario, you need to opt for Ladoo D.

 

The Ladoo D option of investing in creating the next has been missed completely by Indian IT companies for last decade or so. Results are visible now. The people, managers and leaders who came with a mind of Ladoo A or Ladoo C, are suddenly required to choose Ladoo D. This requires a different mindset and different system of being a creator rather than being one more cog in the global IT optimization machine. The Indian IT leaders need to choose Ladoo D and define the world that they want to be in. This requires a shift to “creating” the new rather than optimizing the existing.

 

Even now, with the money available with Indian IT companies – it will be more prudent to invest in Ladoo D and aim for jackpots rather than try to scavenge Ladoo Cs options from players who are defining and creating Ladoo Ds.
Creativity Creativity
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PM Essence
PMNC 2015

Pre Conference: Special PM Program 1

 

Challenges in Projects Environment and Opportunities for Make In India - Theory of Constraints Perspective

 

Mr. Nikhil Shah, Senior Viable Vision Expert, Goldratt Consulting and Mr. Ravindra Udagatti, Senior Viable Vision Expert, Goldratt Consulting shared their experiences about different types of dependencies and uncertainties and how it creates vicious cycle in management. They explained three questions that help in bringing improvement - what to change?, what to change to?, and how to cause change? Improving flow can be done by abolishing local efficiencies, having mechanism that guide when not to produce, balancing flow, reducing bad multitasking. They explained how delay multiply and gains don't add up resulting tough management of constraints.
SP 1

Pre Conference: Special PM Program 2

 

Inside out, Outside in – Redefining Project Leadership in India

 

Ms. Valerie Gray, Founder Director, Talent Makers enlightened the audience with three "I" of iGlu. First 'I'= information = Be a walking whiteboard, second 'I' = India = Make it relevant and third 'I' = me = Self retrospection". Multiple case studies involved the audience throughout the session. The research coverages and lighter moments shared were wonderfully exoerienced by the audience. She explained how behavioural drifts impacts work and how to handle them.
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Pre Conference: Special PM Program 3

 

Lead the way: Excel as a Woman Project Manager

 

Ms. Nemichandra Malhotra, Head of the Department of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles HAL and Ms. Puja Kohli, Founder Unfold Consulting described how women Project Managers can excel in today's corporate world. Puja gave an illustration from daily life to explain how women can manage three pillars of work. She mentioned 66% of organisations are struggling to get Project Managers whereas 99% organizations feel that leadership skills are teachable. Ms. Nemichandra started the discussion by saying that leadership is a journey not a destination. She elaborated that attention, focus, clarity and compassion are keys for sustainable Project Management. Ms. Laxmi Char, Independent Director, started her address with a saying Don't think about work life balance but work life integration. She mentioned project or person is not a failure but the time is.
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Ms. Vaishali Pandey, Head of Project Management Total Environment, Pradeep Chankarachan, Director, IT Projects, Head of IT (India), Harman International India Pvt. Ltd. and Ms. Aruna Schwarz, CEO & Founder Stelae Technologies started a informative panel discussion moderated by Ms. Puja Kohli, Founder Unfold Consulting. Aruna mentioned that multitasking is very important and we women learn that naturally from childhood. Vaishali defined management is communication skills + team building skills. She also mentioned that she started Project Management without even realizing the terminologies of it. She said she believes in keeping the professional and personal life separate. Pradeep added Project Management is the best place to inspire as you always get lots of feedback. There was a inspiring discussion around gender aspect of Project Management.

 

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Light Entertainment - COLLOQUIAL COUSINS

 

Mr. Praveen Kumar and Mr. Sundeep Rao Standup Comedian had a very energetic session where audience enjoyed every bit of it. Their jokes on all the regions of India really connected with the audience and amused them.
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Introduction to Project Management National Conference (PMNC), 2015

 

Mr. Sumanth Padival, PMO for PMNC gave introduction to PMNC 2015. He started by saying this is a matter of pride as this is 7th PMNC by PMI India and 10th by Bangalore Chapter. He mentioned the theme is in sync with changing trend of India.
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Welcome Address

 

Mr. Murali Santhanam, President, PMI Bangalore India Chapter, started his welcome address with a minute’s silence in remembrance of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. He gave his view of Redefining India by going back 500 years. He compared the Darshini's to PM Posters in conference, By-two coffee/tea to networking opportunities during conference and Albert Einstein's E=MC2, as twice the energy level of MC.
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Opening Address

 

Mr. Michael DePrisco, Vice President, Academic and Educational Programs, PMI & COO, PMI Educational Foundation shared his experience as a parent on how to bring up the next generation. He asked a very relevant question, would our kids get knowledge and skill to compete in twenty first century? He articulated that opportunity for India right now is to ensure its education system has a capacity to take up young population of India. He talked about academic collaborations of PMI India.
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Inaugural Address

 

Dr. Bala Bharadvaj, Director, Boeing Research & Technology - India Center started his discussion by talking about world economic center of gravity. He explained how centre of gravity has taken a turn and is coming back to Asia. Bala also talked about Indian Spiritual strengths. Making selection of right choice from Traditional India and Western Influence will Redefine India. He redefined the understanding of triple constraints (Time, Cost, Scope) by adding one more triangle around it as Sustainability, Service and Strategy. His story about hell & heaven tour was well taken and enjoyed by audience. He concluded the session saying we need healthy & happy India, this will be the best redefinition of India.
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Special Address

 

Mr. Manish Sabharwal, Chairman and Cofounder Teamlease Services, started his session by saying two things - Indian kids should choose wisely, Parents & Pincodes. He mentioned poverty is about productivity. His fluency and excellent speaking skills has kept audience listening without a second of miss. His story about a small kid from Gwalior doing salary negotiation depending on cities was showcasing India's trend. He explained four geographies of work and said choice is ours, whether we want to fill 50 core cities more or create 200 more like those cities.
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Special Address

 

PMNC 2nd day opened on a strong note, when Mr. Nandan Nilekani, Former Chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India, stroked the right chord with the delegates with his riveting presentation. He explained how the complex project of providing unique identification to a billion people could be executed before target date and within the budget. He explained the ‘hourglass’ architecture of UIDAI saying APIs formed the stem of it and the four scalable layers were built on the top of that to handle the complexity. The four layers were authentication service, eKYC, E-Sign and Digital locker. He mentioned one needs to use data driven approach to manage the complexity.
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Seeding Innovation for Tomorrow's India

 

Mr. Vishnu Sundaram, Director, Telematics, HARMAN International (India) Pvt. Ltd spoke on “Seeding Innovation for Tomorrow's India”. The topic resonated with the Conference theme and the illustrations cited by the Speaker. Indian demographics are different, hence innovation needs to be dealt with a different mind set than seeking stimulus from the western world. It is the apt time to seed Innovation in India than borrowed. He echoed his experience as an entrepreneur on developing intelligent transportation solutions and emergency health care management system for India.
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Winning Against Odds - Ability in Disability

 

Ms. Deepa Malik, Athlete (Paraplegic), Arjuna Award Winner narrated her life's story on how see looked at everything that came her way as an opportunity. Her presentation had the audience glued to their seats and as she unfolded her life's story on how she managed herself and battled 'stereotypes' in spite of numerous adverse circumstances that were hurled at her. She drove bike, automobile, swam and created numerous records. She participated in a Beauty contest and when one of the panelist asked her if she ever thought of her disability before participating, she responded “No medical problem can stop me from feeling beautiful” - which received a thunderous applause.
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Enterprise Agiliy & Leadership Transformation Stories

 

Mr. Siraj Sirajuddin, Founder Temenos+Agility emphasized that the Temenos Agility framework is set to expand Enterprises. This includes Lean and Six Sigma. These initiatives are big changes and can make a strong impact across the society. He explained that risks are directly proportional to rewards. The higher the risk taking capability of organizations, better rewards are reaped over the long run. Adoption of Temenos Agility methods transform organizations and lives of people.
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Disruptive Approach to Skill Building

 

Mr. Pradeep K Jaswani, General Manager, Head PMU National Institute for Smart Government said present day education system has enabled small and medium scale educational institutions to multiply and grow commercially rather than focus on quality education to the future generations. This rise had led to serious risks like setting false hope to youth and where there is a mismatch in what is being expected of them versus their poor quality educational background. This gap is leading to diminishing skills to keep pace with changing industry requirements. Mr. Jaswani added that at Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship is working towards bringing all skill development initiatives under one umbrella.

Digital India: Architecture, Achievements, Opportunities and Challenges

 

Prof. Raghavan S.V., Professor, Department of Comp. Sc. and Engg. Indian Institute of Technology Madras illustrated that infrastructure has to be strong no matter what kind of leadership methodologies are adopted. He explained that with National Knowledge Network it is possible to run a PAN India initiative utilizing current infrastructure and institutions. He added that super power, force, district distribution and end user are key to enable National Knowledge Network program.
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Putting India First - Leadership Dimension in Project Management to Redefine India

 

Mr. Shantharaju B. S, CEO, Indus Towers initiated his discussion saying there are four leadership dimensions (Care & Concern, Energy, Judgement and Sense of Humour) for Project Management. He added, if the team incorporates the four pillars of leadership, success is assured. He reinforced, in any organization purpose redefines & transforms lives.
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New Initiatives by the Chapter

 

PMNC 2015 Organizing Committee (OC) launched many new initiatives to enhance delegates experience. PM Enlight session was one such initiative where delegates got mentoring from Industry Experts on areas related to career development, best practices in Project Management and Agile methods. There was also Live Webcast of the Conference where people participated and interacted with the speakers from remote locations. The Webcast quality was impeccable and it got many positive reviews from participants from both inside and outside the country. To alleviate parking issues at the venue, the team organized a Special Parking at a nearby Palace Grounds, and shuttle buses were deployed for ferrying the delegates to and from the venue
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PM Essence
Project Management New Trends
                                            - Stanley Thomas, Director & Head, Applications Delivery for BFSI, Dell Services

Project Management is an area where there is a constant need to accommodate the changing business scenarios and needs of the customer. While Project Management in IT has been relatively new compared to management in other industries, pace of change here is much faster. The demands of customer have never been changing so fast.

 

So what are the trends we are seeing in the industry now? Reduced project timelines and changing business needs, Agile/lean implementations, IT driving business transformation through emerging new areas of service like Cloud, Digital, Mobility Areas, and Security etc. On the other hand, managers are challenged by the continued pressure on the costs and shrinking of the business ROI timeframes. On the supply side increasing costs, labor turn over, people management continue to put pressure on the managers. Yet none of these are really very surprising but were emerging as new dimensions or focus areas in last few years.

 

So how do organizations/individuals cope with these challenges?

 

Few areas of focus can be skill enhancements, transformation in the approach to problem solving, innovation & automation to drive productivity improvements and reduced project cycle times and new ways of work force management etc.
Stanly Thomas
Skill Enhancement

Skill enhancement is needed not just at technical workforce level, but also at various layers of management that supports the technical team. Training is necessary on new technologies, new service orientation, execution models to focus on business transformation and delivering early benefits to customer. Over recent years, the time to bring products and services to market has reduced from years to months. This has placed a demand on Project Managers and project teams to compress the Project Management life cycle to deliver quickly. Techniques such as Iterative, Prototyping, Agile principles, DevOps and Rolling Wave Planning will play an increasingly important part in reducing the time to market with new products and services. It drives the adoption of agile principles to shorten the Project Management life cycle. These trends are feeding the development of Project Management and shaping the profession into a more responsive and agile that aligns with today's business needs.

 

PM in New Trends

Innovation & Automation

We need to think beyond the normal and create transformational changes to the productivity game. This is where Project Management skills help drive the team to think beyond the normal. This would drive new ideas, improvements and values to the customer. Fostering an environment of innovation, automation and reuse. This can cut down the development time significantly, bringing great benefits to customer.

 

We have been developing similar solutions like a bank payment system or billing system. Why are we not creating components like the spare parts in an automobile or bringing prefabricated components to assembly line? On demand, can we quickly assemble the product and deliver? It saves lot of cost and can be done in a factory mode. We should encourage people to make generic components. People can be incentivized based on the usage like how app owners get paid by usage. This will drive ideas, quick product assembly and will get into real factory approach to development rather than standard bespoke development. While there has been lot of focus in last decade or so, we can achieve much more in this area.

 

Workforce Management

Other key area of interest is workforce management, this is one area where organizations have been struggling to retain a motivated work force. There is also a need to keep a healthy 'bench' to cater to attrition and new business. What should be the percentage of idle work force needed to manage attrition and new business opportunities as well as additional bandwidth requirements? This has a direct bearing on our business margins. May be it is time to implement what we sell to our customers, like the core and flex teams in organizations. We can think of keeping a certain percentage of permanent staff and remaining as 'temporary staff' from contracting company. While we pay small premium for contract staff, we only pay for what we use. This will reduce the cost and change the focus and approach to our core permanent team, in a much different way.

 

Leaders than Manager

This is the most researched topic you will find on the internet and other management texts. An emerging trend in Project Management is, organizations and project team members are demanding more leadership skills from their Project Managers. Since the responsibility of the Project Manager is to ensure that a project is completed fulfilling all the objectives within the set project constraints, the Project Manager is often concerned with the project success. Leadership skills, however, require considering the human element of the project (project team members) and ensuring their satisfaction at all points during the project. While not all managers are good leaders, the organizations are expecting managers to show more leadership characters in their day to day management. Managers with good leadership characteristics often have better support from their project team members.

 

Strong leadership skills, adaptation to new technologies and trends in industry, efficient staffing and delivery models are going to be the most critical requirements for any IT Project Manager to be successful in modern times.
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PM Essence
DidYouKnow
Q. This new emerging term came as a result of merging recent trends in agile practices with that of traditional practice of full development life cycle starting from requirements to operations

A. DevOps is an emerging software development methodology that got created from the merging of traditional and modern software development practices. It sprang from applying newer Agile and Lean approaches to the operations work. This provides much expanded understanding of the value of collaboration between development and operations staff throughout all stages of the development life-cycle when creating and operating a service. It highlights how important operations has become in our increasingly service-oriented world.

[Source - Internet]

We like to hear what you think!!

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"It is imperative to identify the critical stakeholders at the inception of the project itself as/because............"

Please provide your response by 28th March 2015

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PM Essence
How Successful People Overcome Uncertainty
                                                                                                                      - Dr. Travis Bradberry

 

Our brains are hardwired to make much of modern life difficult. This is especially true when it comes to dealing with uncertainty. On the bright side, if you know the right tricks, you can override your brain's irrational tendencies and handle uncertainty effectively.

 

Our brains give us fits when facing uncertainty because they're wired to react to it with fear. In a recent study, a Caltech neuroeconomist imaged subjects' brains as they were forced to make increasingly uncertain bets—the same kind of bets we're forced to make on a regular basis in business.

 

The less information the subjects had to go on, the more irrational and erratic their decisions became. You might think the opposite would be true—the less information we have, the more careful and rational we are in evaluating the validity of that information. Not so. As the uncertainty of the scenarios increased, the subjects' brains shifted control over to the limbic system, the place where emotions, such as anxiety and fear, are generated.

 

This brain quirk worked great eons ago, when cavemen entered an unfamiliar area and didn't know who or what might be lurking behind the bushes.

Leadership
Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning coauthor of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world's leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. 
His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, TIME, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.

Overwhelming caution and fear ensured survival. But that's not the case today. This mechanism, which hasn't evolved, is a hindrance in the world of business, where uncertainty rules and important decisions must be made every day with minimal information.

 

As we face uncertainty, our brains push us to overreact. Successful people are able to override this mechanism and shift their thinking in a rational direction. This requires emotional intelligence (EQ), and it's no wonder that—among the one million-plus people that TalentSmart has tested—90% of top performers have high EQs. They earn an average of $28,000 more per year than their low-EQ counterparts do.
 

To boost your EQ, you have to get good at making sound decisions in the face of uncertainty, even when your brain fights against this. Fear not! There are proven strategies that you can use to improve the quality of your decisions when your emotions are clouding your judgment.

Creativity
They quiet their limbic systems

The limbic system responds to uncertainty with a knee-jerk fear reaction, and fear inhibits good decisionmaking. people who are good ar dealing with uncertainty are wary of this fear and spot it as soon as it begins to surface. In this way, they can contain it before it gets out of control. Once they are aware of the fear, they label all the irrational thoughts that try to intensify it as irrational fears. Then they can focus more accurately and rationally on the information they have to go on. Throughout the process, they remind themselves that a primitive part of their brain is trying to take over and that the logical part needs to be the one in charge.

 

 

Creativity
They stay positive

Positive thoughts quiet fear and irrational thinking by focusing your brain's attention on something that is completely stress-free. You have to give your wandering brain a little help by consciously selecting something positive to think about. When you're stressing over a tough decision and your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, this can be a challenge. In these moments, think about your day, and identify one positive thing that happened, no matter how small. If you can't think of anything from the current day, reflect on the previous day or days or even the previous week, or perhaps you're looking forward to an exciting event. The point is to shift your attention to something positive when your thoughts turn negative due to the stress of uncertainty.

 
They know what they know—and what they don't

When uncertainty makes a decision difficult, it's easy to feel as if everything is uncertain, but that's hardly ever the case. People who excel at managing uncertainty start by taking stock of what they know and what they don't know and assigning a factor of importance to each. They gather all the facts they have and they take their best shot at compiling a list of things they don't know, for example, what a country's currency is going to do or what strategy a competitor will employ.

 
They embrace that which they can't control
We all like to be in control. After all, people who feel like they're at the mercy of their surroundings never get anywhere in life. But this desire for control can backfire when you see everything that you can't control or don't know as a personal failure. People who excel at managing uncertainty aren't afraid to acknowledge what's causing it. In other words, successful people live in the real world. They don't paint any situation as better or worse than it actually is, and they analyze the facts for what they are. They know that the only thing they really control is the process through which they reach their decisions. Don't be afraid to step up and say, “Here's what we don't know, but we're going forward based on what we do know. We may make mistakes, but that's a lot better than standing still.”

 

They focus only on what matters

Some decisions can make or break your company. Most just aren't that important. The people who are the best at making decisions in the face of uncertainty don't waste their time getting stuck on decisions where the biggest risk is looking foolish in front of their coworkers. When it comes down to it, almost every decision contains at least a small factor of uncertainty—it's an inevitable part of doing business. Learning to properly balance the many decisions on your plate, however, allows you to focus your energy on the things that matter and to make more informed choices. It also removes the unnecessary distraction caused by a flurry of small worries.

 

They don't seek perfection

Emotionally intelligent people don't set perfection as their target because they know there's no such thing as a perfect decision in an uncertain situation. Think about it: human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you're always left with a nagging sense of failure, and you end up spending your time lamenting what you failed to accomplish and what you should have done differently, instead of enjoying what you were able to achieve.

 

They don't dwell on problems

Where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you fixate on the problems that you're facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress, which hinders performance. When you focus on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions and improves performance. Emotionally intelligent people focus all their attention and effort on what they can do, in spite of the uncertainty, to better their situation.

 

They know when to trust their gut

Our ancestors relied on their intuition—their gut instinct—for survival. Since most of us don't face life-or-death decisions every day, we have to learn how to use this instinct to our benefit. Often we make the mistake of talking ourselves out of listening to our gut instinct, or we go too far in the other direction and impulsively dive into a situation, mistaking our assumptions for instincts. People who successfully deal with uncertainty recognize and embrace the power of their gut instincts, and they rely on some tried-and-true strategies to do so successfully:

  • • They recognize their own filters. They're able to identify when they're being overly influenced by their assumptions and emotions or by another person's opinion.
  • • They give their intuition some space. Gut instincts can't be forced. Our intuition works best when we're not pressuring it to come up with solution. Albert Einstein said he got his best ideas while sailing.
  • • They build a track record. People who deal well with uncertainty take the time to practice their intuition. They start by listening to their gut on small things and seeing how it goes so that they'll know whether they can trust it when something big comes around.
They have contingency plans . . .
Staying on top of uncertainty is as much about planning for failure as it is about hoping for the best. Experts at handling uncertainty aren't afraid to admit that they could be wrong and that frees them up to make detailed, rational and transparent contingency plans before taking action. Successful people know they aren't always going to make the right decision. They know how to absorb and understand mistakes and never let mistakes get them down for too long.

 

. . . but they don't ask, “What if?”

 “What if?” statements throw fuel on the fire of stress and worry, there's no place for them in your thinking once you have good contingency plans in place. Things can go in a million different directions, and the more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you'll spend focusing on taking action that will calm you down and keep your stress under control.

 

When all else fails, they breathe

You have to remain calm to make good decisions in the face of uncertainty. An easy way to do this lies in something that you have to do every day anyway—breathing. The practice of being in the moment with your breathing trains your brain to focus solely on the task at hand and quiets distracting thoughts. When you're feeling overwhelmed, take a couple of minutes to focus on your breathing. Close the door, put away all other distractions and just sit in a chair and breathe. The goal is to spend the entire time focused only on your breathing, which will prevent your mind from wandering. Think about how it feels to breathe in and out. This sounds simple but it's hard to do for more than a minute or two. It's all right if you get sidetracked by another thought—this is sure to happen at the beginning—and you just need to bring your focus back to your breathing. If staying focused on your breathing proves to be a real struggle, try counting each breath in and out until you get to twenty and then start again from one. You will be surprised by how calm you feel afterward and how much easier it is to let go of distracting thoughts that otherwise seem to lodge permanently inside your brain.

 

Bringing It All Together

The ability to strategically manage ambiguity is one of the most important skills you can cultivate in an increasingly uncertain business environment. Try the strategies above, and your ability to handle uncertainty will take a huge step in the right direction.