Comfortable With Uncertainty

Approaching uncertainty is not necessarily about deliberating forever. Make a choice and fail forward.

I was watching a dialogue between entrepreneurs and a technician last night. They were speaking two entirely different languages. The entrepreneurs wanted to drive towards a deal and value. The technician wanted control and precision in the details. I cringed watching the exchange.

Michael Gerber’s E-Myth is a classic business read because he highlights the underlying reason businesses in America fail. It’s less about the vision, plan, technology or other external factors we are drawn to. It has to do with the person running the business. The technician who was rewarded for their technical insights as a worker and then starts a business has the wrong mindset. They work in the business rather than on the business.

Ultimately, today’s entrepreneurs and leaders have to be comfortable with uncertainty. Trying to define how things will work out and planning specifically does not take into account the moves of other people, market response or failure from the myriad decisions along the way. Success today looks much more like an X-Games competitor taking on the courses and competition and making decisions quickly with conviction.

The technician who is looking for precision can get lost and disillusioned quickly in today’s world. This is especially true if they are so focused on the plan in their head and disregard business priorities such as time and cost. Everything costs something. Taking too long can also reduce enthusiasm for buyers, partners and employees. Uncertainty is very high in markets today as well where things that were once hot become obscure quickly.

I embrace uncertainty and work rigorously to fail quickly and use the knowledge from failure to move quickly. The iteration helps to drive towards precision. It is a hard road for those that are not comfortable with failure and have a paradigm of control. However, I am not sure there is another choice for anyone wanting to build something.

How comfortable are you with uncertainty?

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