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In Early 2020 businesses and individuals suddenly faced huge amounts of uncertainty like never seen before in their lifetimes due to a global pandemic. In the last 3-6 months the world feels like it had begun to normalise again, with restrictions being lifted / removed, and businesses beginning to stabilise once again. With the global pandemic looking like it is coming to an end, businesses and individuals are starting to feel some certainty again, making more concrete plans and strategies for future growth and development.

This newfound certainty in the world was then disrupted on a global scale by recent events in Europe. Russia took the decision to invade Ukraine, something that nobody thought would happen in the modern world. Now due to Russia’s actions in Europe and the sanctions imposed on them having a global impact, means that businesses, individuals, and entire economies are now facing uncertainty once again. Businesses are suddenly having to adapt their operating models, business plans and strategies trying to look forward in a yet again uncertain world. Only one thing seems certain now and that is to expect the unexpected and accept that things are constantly changing currently on a global scale. Some businesses can’t survive the uncertainly and sadly will not make it past these turbulent times, whereas other business seem to thrive and grow during these uncertain times.

Uncertainty; is it a bad, or a good thing?

The answer is that it can be both dependant on how it is perceived; uncertainly is typically viewed in two ways by a business:

  • It can be feared or dismissed by a business, some businesses will typically stand still, freeze, and carry on doing what they have always done, using the “Wait and See Strategy”. Hoping that the storm will pass, and the world will return to how it was before the uncertainty began.
  • Other businesses simply embrace the challenge and innovate, evolve, and embrace the uncertainty as an opportunity to improve and find new ways of working. This type of business will innovate and invest at a time where others have frozen, making huge market gains in the face of uncertainty.

A recent Harvard Business review we read states that “Under uncertainty, traditional approaches to strategic planning can be downright dangerous.”(1). It explains that “underestimating uncertainty can lead to strategies that neither defend against the threats nor take advantage of the opportunities that higher levels of uncertainty may provide”.

So is uncertainty a bad thing? In our opinion, it all depends on how you look at it!

Certainty is often sought by many as the solution, but certainty can also be a bad thing as it often creates work environments that are restrictive, lack opportunities and are rigid. Certainty is described as something we look to and worship by Professor Paolo Quattrone at the University of Edinburgh, his business insights blog(3)  he argues that we should stop seeking certainty as it stops us adapting and asking questions that drive innovation and evolution.

The key thing in all of this is perspective and how the uncertainty is viewed by leaders, managers, and individuals within an organisation. Those organisations that are more risk adverse, or think they are big enough to ride out the storm tend to adopt the “Wait and See Strategy”. Organisations that adapt, make decisions, innovate, and evolve in the face of uncertainty will typically grow their businesses and surpass others in the marketplace eventually.

It’s true to say that this same thinking and behaviour also applies to people who work within those businesses. Some people tend to freeze and worry about the change and uncertainty, whilst others take risks and embrace the uncertainty as their opportunity to develop and move forward.

Whilst browsing LinkedIn we came across this amazing article from Adam Fergie(2) which talks directly about this fear of change and compares people and businesses to being either “Tree’s or Sail’s”. Tree’s being those that feel they have a solid foundation and enough roots to stand fast no matter what change is thrown at them. Sail’s being those that ride the winds of change using it as a source of power to navigate their marketplace seizing opportunities, innovating, and adapting.

We think we can all as human beings, recognise times when we have been either a “Tree” or a “Sail” and have employed the “Wait and See Strategy” in our personal lives and careers. How many times have you held back from that opportunity within your current workplace, or not applied for that job elsewhere due to your fear of the change or uncertainty? With everything that is going on in the world now and the high level of uncertainty globally many people might be thinking it is a really bad time to be moving jobs.

The best time to be moving roles and developing yourself!

Uncertainty creates diversity and opportunities in the workplace, businesses must evolve and adapt at such a pace that careers are accelerated forward to keep up with the pace of change externally. If you are willing and able to be a part of an adaptive evolving business, then the opportunities for personal and professional development are there to be taken.

Some people will naturally be able to grasp these opportunities, but others might be feeling anxious or lack the confidence to take that next step and move forward in an uncertain world.

Here are so of our top tips to overcome that fear of uncertainty when looking a new job opportunity:

1. Let go of the illusion of certainty.

Accept that nothing is certain in the world and things will always change, nothing will stay the same forever, and this is ok. Embrace the uncertainty and explore a different thought process like instead of saying to yourself “What if this happened” try and think along the lines of “If I do this I could” focusing on the positives. If “I do this” thinking may help stop your brain creating negative scenarios which overtime become engrained and then go from a simple thought to become a blocker in your mind about moving jobs.

2. Focus on what you can control, not what you can’t.

People typically focus on what they can’t control opposed to what they can control. Ok so there is some pretty big stuff going on in the world, step back through history and there is always something happening globally, whether it be a pandemic, war or economic crisis. Try to focus on things you can control form a development plan and focus on you. We see so many people miss key opportunities in their careers due to a fear of uncertainty and change,

3. Seek advice and talk things through

If you are anxious about moving jobs or taking the next step on your career path, speak to someone about how you are feeling. Sharing your thoughts and concerns with people is the best way to resolve some of them as you can’t always trust your own thoughts. Sometimes people think themselves out of doing something that could be the right thing for them. We often hear people say “I didn’t think I was qualified enough for that job”, or “I didn’t think I had enough experience for that role”. Without talking to someone or seeking an alternative point of view how will you ever know.

So is uncertainty a good or bad thing, in our opinion it can be both dependant on your point of view and how you look at the world. We tend to focus on the positive aspects of uncertainty and embrace how it enables companies to grow, adapt, innovate and evolve. It is through this process of change and effective management of uncertainty more exciting opportunities are created for our candidates and clients. There are loads of new roles and development opportunities being created every day and we are always looking for new candidates in a wide range of immigration and global mobility roles.

Whether it be in the immigration, global mobility or IT & Banking sector, we are always here to help advise and help our candidates move along their development and career plans.

Check out our existing vacancies via our job portal

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If you have any further questions or want more info about our services contact Yasmin Marshal via or call 01245 939188