Since Phil Hodgson and Executive Development Group partner Randy White published Relax, It’s Only Uncertainty in 2001, we have seen not only validation among the executives we work with, but also greater interest in the challenges of ambiguity in business.
At this week’s SIOP Annual Conference in Atlanta, Sandy Shullman and Randy were encouraged and delighted by the collaborative responses to the two half-day presentations. There appear to be some emerging perspectives on the subject as it relates to the practical applications of learning professionals. People in the field see a need to measure tolerance for ambiguity and the uncertainty that it brings in their quests for potential leaders in their organizations.
It became apparent to us that this “aptitude for ambiguity” is indeed a trait sought by learning organizations like yours and a trait that can be developed.
As with most of our work, our study of ambiguity is a process that is informed and advanced by the questions learning executives bring. Presently, we are further developing our 360 assessment Ambiguity Architect®, so these kinds of mini-focus groups are invaluable. If your firm is interested in learning more about our work on ambiguity, please contact us via e-mail.
Drs. Randall P White and Sandra L Shullman are featured authors in the April issue of CLO Magazine. Writing on Ambiguity Leadership, Randy and Sandy advance the idea that an aptitude for ambiguity and the ability to be comfortable amidst uncertainty are traits that can be measured and developed. Also, they assert that research suggests that they are traits of high-performers. From the article:
Research done by the Executive Development Group suggests that the ability to positively manage uncertainty may be an essential trait of effective leaders, often found in those considered high potentials. Evidence shows it can be measured and learned.
Based on interviews with numerous C-level executives around the world, Elizabeth Mellon, executive director of Duke Corporate Education, said mindset — more than personality and behavior — forms an observable pattern among some of the most successful leaders and that a fearless approach to uncertainty is required.
“C-suite executives reveal a high degree of being comfortable with discomfort,” Mellon said. “They accommodate ambiguity and the uncertainty it brings. They are confident in making decisions that move their organizations into uncharted territory because they know this ensures long-term prosperity. They have ‘solid cores’ that allow them to navigate the unknown and accept not knowing everything. And they tend to have a longer view because they see time as a continuum in which uncertainty will come and go as they progress. Being uncertain doesn’t stifle them.”
Download the whole article for free, here.