With the current Government cuts and the potential second recession, we are continuing to head into uncertain and unpredictable times. For managers, one of the most difficult challenges in these times is managing their people and keeping anxious and worried staff focused and motivated.
Click here for tips on how to manage staff in uncertain times.
People must be persuaded to treat uncertainty as a challenge not a threat. Managers need to stay focused when the fog closes in.
Everyone must take risks... success depends on all employees taking initiative - so strategy is devolved to teams, divisions become profit centres, managers’ pay is linked to performance, and
employees’ to productivity ...but loyalty needs security people won’t support changes if pay and jobs are put at risk; most joined the company to let it absorb major shocks, and shield them from brute market forces.
Firms that survive uncertain times:
* Are honest about the problems
* Have a clear survival strategy
* Stay open to suggestions
* Share the sacrifices
* Share the eventual rewards
Old style: tied to the master
When there is one overriding challenge rescue sometimes lies with strong, stubborn leaders who refuse to be blown off the chosen survival course. Advantages include:
* Quick, uncontested decisions
* Rapid implementation
* Stakeholders keep faith
* Competitors run scared
New style: Hard times, many voices
To use variety of thinking within the company as a way to combat chaos surrounding it:
* Set targets which all can aim for
* Mobilise support for successful experiments
* Encourage sharing of ideas
* Monitor early-stage performance
Charting a course
* Clearer sight through the gloom can be gained by:
* Distinguishing cycle, trend and break
* Scenario planning
* Catastrophe modelling
It’s all in the talk
Changes meant to reduce uncertainty tend to deepen it at first; the need for difficult or unpopular decisions is best communicated by:
* Painting the full picture
* Putting speed before comprehensiveness
* Explaining why as well as how
* Anticipating reactions
When there’s limited time to assemble options, it is still managers’ task to select and ‘sell’ the right one. But somehow it’s easier to get people to accept change when times are good, and they’re comfortable, than when they’re afraid.