3 Strategies To Turn Uncertainty To Competitive Advantage

I got up this morning, turned on the news, and all I heard was uncertainty. The trade tariffs, global slowdown, and cut in interest rates had investors, business owners, and everyone struggling to try and figure out what this economy is going to do.

Is the economy still good for another quarter? Is the economy starting to head towards recession? Will the stock market plummet? The truth is, I am not sure anyone knows the answer to any of these questions.

Instead of focusing on whether the economy is good or bad, what we should be focused on is just how different this economy is. This economy is radically different. We are accustomed to having an economy that is either good or bad. A good economy is when things are hot, business is growing, markets are strong, and things are stable. In other words, we feel confident that the business environment is going to stay active.

In a bad economy, things are tough and challenging, but we do see the light at the end of the tunnel. We know that if we tighten our belts, slow down our spending, that things will turn around.

But in an uncertain economy, like the one we are experiencing now, things are unpredictable. We are not sure if this strong economy will hold, we don’t know when and if things will shift, and we are not sure whether to tighten our belts or jump in and spend with both feet.

This feeling of uncertainty is evident when I talk with business owners today as I inquire how things are going. The typical response I get is, “Great – we are doing well, but ugh, this uncertainty, we just don’t know if and when the market is going to shift.”

As if uncertainty is a bad thing, a negative. And it got me thinking – what is we flipped the script on uncertainty, rather than seeing it as an obstacle, what if it became our competitive advantage.

And the uncertain economy is a very different type of economy. To succeed in it, you have to understand what it takes and the strategies that work.

I discovered these strategies when I started writing my newest book – “THRIVE: Strategies to Turn Uncertainty To Competitive Advantage.” I began interviewing and studying organizations who seemed to have cracked the code, seemed to have figured out how to make this uncertainty marketplace start working for them.

There are nine strategies, nine case studies, and nine compelling stories of what it takes to succeed in uncertainty, and through blogs and articles, I will reveal them all. Today I want to start with what I think are the top three.

3 Strategies To Turn Uncertainty To Competitive Advantage

  1. Set Your Mindset – first, you need to change the way you think about uncertainty. Again, most of us view it as a negative, and I understand that. I mean uncertainty is change on steroids. You know change is coming, you are just not sure what the change will be, when it will happen, or what impact it will have. Scary right?

But the companies that are succeeding right now are the ones who are setting their mindset that uncertainty brings opportunity, new markets, new ideas. It is not an obstacle, but something that can propel your company forward.

  1. Predict Your Future – See It Coming – with a new understanding and attitude about uncertainty, you are ready to embrace it. Predict your future by creating it.

Listen if you know that change is coming, then rather than wait for it to arrive, why don’t you invest the time to see it coming. Spend an hour or so every quarter talking about the changes happening outside of your industry. What is happening with the economy, what are the new technologies, and how will they impact your industry, what is shifting with customers, who are the new competitors?

Just taking the time to think about the changes that are coming will give you the room to prepare. If you see change coming – it is an opportunity. If you choose to ignore it – and it will bury you.

  1. Focus on Talent – last but not least, focus on talent. The only thing differentiating you from your competitors is the team around you. There is nothing that you offer, nothing you sell, that your competitors don’t sell, won’t sell and couldn’t sell. So, it is not the products or services that are making a difference; that is not what is attracting customers to you. It is the experience and your reputation in the marketplace.

And having a strong reputation and providing a great customer experience – comes down to the team you have. Talent development is no longer something delegated to the Human resources department.  Leading companies have CEOs whose passion is developing, investing in, and building their teams.

Uncertainty is the new frontier, and your success is directly tied to your ability to understand it and embrace it.

In my Linkedin course, “Soft Skills for Sales Professionals”, I cover soft skills in depth, sharing strategies that can help bolster your emotional intelligence & communicate more effectively with prospects.