Moving forward in an uncertain environment
The way we were taught to think and act works well in a predictable future, but not so much in the world as it is now, according to Leonard Schlesinger, Charles Kiefer and Paul Brown in their book Just Start: Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future. Things simply are not as predictable as they once were, and the world is probably going to get more unpredictable rather than less, so we need a new way of thinking that complements the way we were taught to reason.
Thinking is great, but nothing in the real world actually changes until you act. So the authors recommend two different ways of acting which complement each other. Use the well-known Prediction way of approaching problems where the outcome is reasonably predictable, but use the “Creaction” way for problems where the outcome is not predictable. Creaction involves taking a “smart step” in the way you want to go, then learning from the outcome of that step, then building off that learning and taking another step.
Other advice given by the authors includes:
- The desire to do something is a very important element in successful creaction.
- Successful entrepreneurs act quickly using the resources which they presently have.
- It is important to decide what an acceptable loss might be, and limit your investment to that amount.
- In most cases greater success arises when you can attract other people to your cause.
- Creaction can be used not just in business situations but also in many other life situations.
A cynical reader might characterise the content of the book as not much more than Nike’s famous tagline. However, in the current unpredictable economic environment it is often very difficult to get any initiative started at all, because of the fear of failure. What this book does is provide a detailed and yet simple plan to address that fear of failure in small steps. I recommend it to any business leader who is stuck in an unpredictable context.