Career Advice Successful entrepreneurs’ story

How your business can plan for an uncertain future

If anything is certain in this world, it’s the uncertain. ‘Uncertainty’ conjures many negative connotations and these differ amongst each of us, because uncertainty dictates a shift in how we execute our role and responsibilities.


For example, for senior business executives uncertainty may mean doubt, risk and mistrust more than anything else given that their remit is ensuring the corporate reputation is intact. Conversely, for entry level professionals, uncertainty may predominantly mean an increase in anxiety, fear and overall stress levels.


For each and every one of us, it’s important to understand uncertainty means something different. Why? Because once we know this, we can plan for the uncertain.


When nothing is sure, everything is possible. The light at the end of the tunnel is knowing there is a way to set business up for success in a time of heightened uncertainty. And it all comes down to one thing: The people. In the face of the unknown, businesses need to cater to every person based on how uncertainty affects them, to have an effective plan in place.


Define excellence and strive for it

In the past 12 months, Veeam hired a new marketing manager that has since delivered incredible business value by way of their innovative approach to driving demand and advocacy for the company’s products specifically in the ANZ region. In Singapore, a channel manager has achieved excellence in working with a partner to implement pre-sales and post-sales resources to create a bespoke deployment project, that not only was cost-effective but led to a signing of an extended contract.


There are many more stories around the region of individuals that have excelled in their lines of work since the start of the outbreak. The red thread that connects these is the approach taken: aligning as a business on what excellence looks like, setting a goal informed by the tools and resources available to realise that success and going out to do so.


For most, business excellence is defined by how the organisation maximises its outputs and manages its inputs to get there. At its core, an excellent organisation does more with less. Considering this definition, then, sustaining business excellence has taken on a whole new meaning in the past 12 months. Excellence needs to account for the current circumstances as it is not a copy and paste approach.


Spend time to re-evaluate and define what excellence looks like with your employees during this time. Make it known across the company there are still goals in place and it is possible to achieve these, but the path to it may be a bit more fluid than usual. It is important to have something to aspire to in times of hardship so let that be the anchor for the team in these uncharted waters.


Set boundaries accordingly

If uncertainty means different things to different people, business leaders must recognise the fact we all deal with it in different ways. Revisit the flexible working arrangements you currently have in place with this mindset – it’s not all about maximising productivity but taking great care of your most essential business resource: Your people.


For example, businesses across the region have strictly implemented a “dawn to dusk” policy, where reading, actioning or responding to emails and texts out of normal working hours is discouraged. Similarly, “lunch with legs” programs have peaked in areas facing lockdown restrictions as a reminder to individuals to physically get up from their desks.


Empowering employees to set clear boundaries between their work and personal lives will help ensure they are exploring outlets in which they can deal with their feelings beset by the uncertainty surrounding us all. It is only after this that productivity will follow.


Earn respect and the rest will follow

TED speaker Simon Sinek once said, “Corporate culture matters. How management chooses to treat its people impacts everything for better or for worse”.


Above all, treat your team with respect. Be empathetic to the diverse situations and challenges you team may be facing. If anything, use this time as an opportunity to get closer to your people. With respect comes the understanding that everyone is in this together, which is important during times of crises like these.


Doing so removes any hierarchical tension and divides within the business. Building lines of communication and trust lays the foundation between employer and employee the business needs to plan for the uncertain. Getting your people right is getting your business’ foundation right. After doing this, you’ll have a springboard for success in even the hardest of times.