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Business leaders tend to prefer having everything well-organised and planned out in order to create a roadmap for the future.

However, today we are living in a time which has been clouded by uncertainty for a variety of reasons, which can be a major source of anxiety. This has been the case in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation rates, and various other macroeconomic challenges.

Business leaders have the responsibility to not only plan out their own future, but also that of the organisation and its respective employees.

With this in mind, here are six tips to help business leaders best prepare themselves to face the future in a turbulent world filled with shifting expectations.

1) Focus on business as it could be, not on business as usual

Business leaders have to remember that they are the primary instigators for change within an organisation, and should hence lead people into the future, not remain stuck in the present.

Therefore, they need to look for and create new opportunities in every part of organisational life, from a company’s market position and work culture, to talent development and new products.

They have to constantly search and take on ways that will not only make life better for themselves, but also their employees and clients, as well as the communities they are engaged in.

2) Embrace the unknown

This might be the most challenging tip of them all, but business leaders have to find ways to look at the fearsome prospect of the unknown as an asset, rather than as a challenge.

The world has never been as ambiguous as it is today, yet at the same time, opportunities available to companies are arguably at their highest.

Business leaders have to be willing to take well-informed risks that come with uncertain outcomes. They can do this effectively by developing new organisational processes with their teams in order to help them adapt to and leverage each new situation as things play out, even when they do so differently from what was expected.

3) Outline the purpose that will drive the organisation

In order to have better outcomes, businesses have to go through uncomfortable periods.

Business leaders need to be able to acknowledge that when trying new ideas, they might not fully know what might happen.

They have to allow themselves to be guided by a strong sense of purpose, while remaining grounded in the meantime. It is integral that they identify and embrace the ideals that give the organisation’s people deep personal meaning, turning them into the drive needed to face such challenges.

4) Accept failure on the way to success

Not everything will be a success from the very off. Learning from a difficult period is an important step for any business situation.

When it comes to preparing oneself for the unknown, business leaders can experiment with new ideas, technologies, approaches, systems, and people, in order to establish whether they will be successful in the long run.

As a result, business leaders have to embrace failures, particularly when they are of a risky nature yet still filled with potential. Rather than slashing headcount, slowing down or putting an end to a strategy altogether, they need to look at these failures as opportunities to learn more, revise, improve, and drive the organisation forward.

5) Be open to new knowledge

Business leaders cannot remain stuck in their own bubble during such uncertain times.

It is a must that they connect with new ideas and the people that can make such a well-needed change happen through an open channel of communication.

They need to be open to new knowledge while being open to criticism of their self-knowledge.

By separating themselves of the past and letting go of it, business leaders can identify and act on what will be relevant for the future.

6) Recognise when to move forward, even when there could be more to know

As the heads of their organisations, business leaders need to be able to acknowledge when they cannot know everything about a particular situation.

The world is constantly changing, from its people and facts, to the situations and opportunities it presents.

Therefore, it is crucial that they ask themselves whether the organisation has enough material to make a decision that is worth the risk, as failing to do so at the right time and holding out for more knowledge can result in missed opportunities.

Additionally, business leaders also need to ask their people to bring any ideas forward should they see a risk that can influence or change the decision, as well as any recommendations to manage and contain such a risk. The decision has to be made when the value of moving forward far outweighs that of not doing so.

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