Doing nothing is a decision. But we are not only talking about not making a decision but that if the action is taken, it is the right one: taking a step forward when everyone gives it is not differentialLike taking a single step when everyone takes two or making a decision when someone moves in another direction, or if an organization that until now was not even listed as a potential competitor is and is ahead.
Not everyone is in a position to live permanently making decisions without knowing what is going to happen. Working with uncertainty creates anxiety, and this can lead to an uncoordinated and inefficient way of working. It is also a characteristic of a leader that can end up impacting the culture of the organization. AND Culture is like trust: it takes years to build, minutes to lose, and decades to recover.
Cheryl Strauss Einhorn author of the books Problem Solved and Investing in Financial Research, highlights that when we feel such high uncertainty our decision-making processes can fail. We can freeze and fear to act, or we can act on the basis of prejudice, emotion, and intuition rather than logic and facts.
Whether due to the lack of sales, the need to be active or having more time to do so, professional social networks have been strongly activated since the pandemic. LinkedIn reported that during COVID-19, conversations between people linked to this network increased by 55% compared to last year. And not only this: the amount of content created by professionals exceeded 60%, with 21% more interaction between members of the same company.
Among the profiles that were exposed with much more activity are the commercials and those who have a profile as a leader in organizations. In these cases, with respect to the previous year, publications increased by 42% and activity by 54%. But if the 706 million professionals distributed in 200 countries that are part of LinkedIn today increase their interaction, share knowledge and link in this way How much does this impact the way we work, relate, hire or influence?
And now that?
For Stephen Hawking “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge”, especially notable today, where many companies make big decisions to adapt and survive or to transform and innovate.
But on the basis of what knowledge do we decide and act? Are we sure those decisions are the right ones? If all leaders and professionals observe the same variables and are trained on the same technologies, it is possible that the decisions they make will have low or short-term impact since, a little before or a little after, competitors could also take that step.
While the term agility is used as a way to approach customer-focused problems or challenges, Managing an organization in crisis requires even much more analysis: just as there is a paralysis by analysis, going from agile is also a problem.
In this sense, Daniel Insenberg and Alessandro Di Fiore recently published in the Harvard Business Review the pillars on which a leader should be based when dealing with crisis and uncertainty, something that will be normal in the dynamics of the digital world.
Accelerate, brake or slow down. The cheetah, listed as the fastest mammal in the world, chases its prey at half the speed at which it can run. The aforementioned researchers believe that this strategy allows cheetahs to save strength and not overstretch themselves in one direction in the event that their prey suddenly changes course. This analogy applies to companies, especially when their markets begin to thin, instead of slowing down or before a quick turn they must slow down to listen to their customers, track opportunities, conserve resources and improve their ability to change direction if necessary. . Reduce speedIt also allows organizations to reassure themselves if what they observed of market behavior or trends at some point is still valid.
Although the people within an organization are the same, the dynamics suddenly changes the scenario in which they operate, the way they do it and the results they obtain. A profile that a year ago was excellent for a role today stopped being so, and vice versa. And it may be that this will change again in the face of a new challenge, so the adaptability of both employees and leaders must change. Learning, unlearning and relearning is part of the new mindset.
Analyze the new data as if we were looking for gold. Before we would get up in the morning and we did not expect a big change in our routine compared to the previous day. We are used to joining points to decide, but today the points are joined in networks that can generate different types of connections for infinite points, which added to the speed of technology processing can generate new gestations, transformations or disruptions that can change luck. of a company, sector or region in the blink of an eye. There is no longer a map for organizations because the territory is frequently blurred and redrawn. The only certainty is that the future is uncertain.
Decide with data
Strauss Einhorn proposes a series of considerations that every leader must incorporate in order to make more appropriate decisions in dynamic contexts. There are three categories of data: featured data, that capture our attention because they have relevance or amaze us. Lthe context data, those that have a framework that can affect the way we interpret them; and the patterned data, which seem to behave in a regular, intelligible and meaningful way.
The highlights they can activate the salience bias in which we overweight new or notable information, which can result in suboptimal decision making, planning errors, and more. For example, “Airline passenger demand in April 2020 plummeted 94.3% compared to April 2019 due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19. This shocking statistic could make us think that the trips as we know them are finished, but in reality this outstanding data tells us almost nothing about future trips ”, indicated the author.
For its part, contextual data they can lead us to restrict thinking and lead to framing bias: the context in which we receive data affects the way we think about it. For example “80% of the hamburger contains lean meat” sounds healthier than “beef with 20% fat”. It is the same product framed differently.
Patterned data they usually generate the illusion of clustering, by which we assume that random events are information that will help us predict a future event. The human brain is programmed to look for patterns, even when they don’t exist. And even if there are certain patterns, they may not have predictive value: a dice thrown from which a four comes out several times in a row has established a pattern, but that says nothing about what the next roll will be.
In a fast, uncertain, complex world, before acting or reacting we must ask ourselves: What do we know? We do not know? What do we need to know? How do we learn what we need to know? and for this we require data, knowing how to interpret them, relate them and find patterns to decide.
* Diego Pasjalidis is an engineer specialized in strategies, innovation and digital transformation, author of the book Inspiración Extrema, Head of Innovation & Digital by Stefanini Argentina and lecturer.