How to Move Through Uncertainty to Opportunity

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Ineffective leaders require certainty before they act, I am certain.

On the other hand, successful leaders make decisions where outcomes are uncertain.

Turbulent times, regulations and compliance, technology, politics, people, and global markets enflame uncertainty. Additionally, complex challenges have more than one solution. Leadership is rich with uncertainty.

A surprising juxtaposition:

“Trustworthy leaders move through uncertainty to pursue opportunity,” Amy Lyman.

The opposite of uncertainty isn’t certainty
it’s opportunity.

Have you been in a meeting where conversations revolved around problems and uncertainties? They usually spiral in despair, stall, and produce nothing. Participants return safely to their offices feeling successful because they dodged imaginary bullets.

Without leadership and direction, groups produce uncertainty. Leaders always pursue opportunities while acknowledging realities. Successful leaders don’t get stuck.

Certainty matters:

Adequate certainty eliminates distracting uncertainties. Five ways every organization builds baselines of certainty:

  1. Standard operating procedures.
  2. Decision making models.
  3. Designated decision makers. (usually those closest to the action)
  4. Transparency.
  5. Clarity of mission, vision, and values.

The ultimate goal:

Certainty is not an end in itself. Lyman explains the ultimate goal is, “Creating enough stability to capitalize on opportunities.”


Strategies that enable organizations to pursue opportunities include:

  1. Honor.
  2. Inclusion.
  3. Valuing and engaging followers.
  4. Sharing information.
  5. Developing others.

From: “The Trustworthy Leader.”


What techniques help create organizational stability?

How do you move through uncertainty to opportunity, without getting stuck?


Posts based on my conversation with Amy Lyman, author of “The Trustworthy Leader.”

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