Analysis of uncertainty – powerful yet seldom used

All too often, leaders dealing with uncertainty spend some time understanding the problem context and then use their experience and intuition to decide what to do in response.   This may be okay in familiar or simple situations – provided of course that you want to repeat you past experiences.

The trouble is, intuition and experience are inside your current paradigms, thinking and behaviours.  So if you don’t want to repeat mistakes or if you simply want to lift performance to a new level it is essential to do something more.   Something that might cause you to understand more than you did and to make decisions you would not previously have entertained.

One way to challenge and to expand your paradigms is to use analysis.  When problem data is critically examined and is subject to analysis you may be surprised, even shocked and confounded, by the results.  This is because effective analytical methods are independent of your personal assumptions – and can draw conclusions that are in your blind spots.

There are powerful, well understood ways of analysing most problems involving uncertainty – whether that uncertainty creates risks, opportunities or both to what you are trying to do.  For example, future project cost estimates can often be made much more robust and reliable using techniques such as Monte Carlo simulation.  Less well understood is that new qualitative techniques such as Systemic Risk Analysis can provide powerful analytical insights into how and why to work on unmeasurable factors that drive performance – such as culture, business systems and strategies.

Are you using intuition and experience to make decisions when analysis could enrich and change your thinking?  Investing in analysis could be the catalyst that makes the difference.