By Advantage ForbesBooks
In the crucible of leadership, nothing squeezes a leader more than uncertainty. – Henry Maudslay
As of late, there has been much discussion about a business’ ability to adapt to a changing environment. Although adaptability is critical to success in the digital age, we have yet to discuss the more human side of adaptive stress. The myriad pressures, questions, and conundrums that accompany running a business – especially in the rapidly changing Information Age – are objectively stressful. There is immense pressure to become more “agile,” and know exactly what that will look like.
The path is not always immediately clear. As a leader, you must make the judgment calls, and occasionally, the leaps of faith, necessary to steer your company toward the future. There is an abundance of literature singing the praises of meditation and mindfulness as a means of thwarting stress, but here we endeavor to look at stress management through a different lens – dealing with the obstacles head on, at a practical level.
When you have historically been successful using one particular method or model, you may become reluctant to explore or even conceive of a different model. Bear in mind, it’s dangerous to become a slave to your own winning recipe, no matter the success it’s reaped for you so far. You are, however, far more likely to cling to it when the going gets tough, and you have to fight that reflex.
But here’s the thing:
THE SINGLE BEST WAY TO COMBAT THE STRESS OF UNCERTAINTY IS TO STUDY THE ACTIONS OTHER BUSINESS LEADERS TOOK UNDER SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES.
This way, when you confront a business conundrum or the market is vigorously shaken up, you will have an immediate reference guide. This can be the most effective form of stress management in business, providing a much-needed framework, and showing you that no matter what you’re confronting, it has successfully been dealt with in the past. Business obstacles otherwise come with no guidebook.
As ForbesBooks authors J. Eduardo and Erica W. Campos write in their debut: “The most effective way to navigate [business] challenges is to leverage the pitfalls, successes, and beaten paths of others.”
Which others, exactly? To serve as a case study of this very principle, we will look to the Corning Company, which was put under enormous adaptive stress at the turn of the century, and study the almost enviable way they responded…
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