Crisis in a dynamic Environment, Anticipation, and Change Management

Crisis in a Changing Dynamic, Anticipation, and Change Management

Like wolves, we live in a dynamic, often unpredictable, and hostile environment that contains risks and demands quick and correct decisions. Wolves can form quick and strong emotional bonds and often need to rely on their instincts to survive in unpredictable and constantly dynamic environments. As the environment has ceased to be static and has become turbulent, organizations, like wolves, are forced to change their way of acting to adapt to changing realities. Navigating a dynamic, or BANI, environment requires experiencing change as an opportunity to unlearn and question traditional operating models. Simply because they no longer work.

A few months ago, I was with my partner Luis Serrano at an event sponsored by companies in the energy sector where we met about a hundred people. There, the four speakers, executives from the main companies in the sector, agreed that we live in a dynamic environment. But instead of focusing on anticipation and seeking solutions, they decided that the best thing was to improvise and keep milking the cow as long as it continues to give milk. Why bother planning anything if in the end everything works? Even more, if we are Spanish (I add this from my thoughts because it is known that nobody beats us at improvising).

This attitude, which I would classify as denial of reality, is not the smartest. I would say that my colleagues thought the same because when the event finished no one asked a question or remark.

If we think about how our grandparents lived in times of war, the first thing that comes to mind is resilience. My grandparents, for example, lived in Los Alcázares (Cartagena, Murcia,) and set up a vegetable garden and a rabbit hutch to have something to eat. We have all heard similar stories, with housewives saving money in different envelopes for whatever might happen, precisely because they lived in a changing environment.

Change, Constant in a Dynamic Environment, and How to Face It

Acceptance of Reality

Reality is what it is, not what I would like it to be. I can pray every night for the war in Ukraine to end, for climate change to stop suffocating emerging countries, or for resources to be distributed fairly. Asking the universe is in fashion, and some believe it even works. But the reality is that we do not live in a scenario we can control anymore, if it ever existed at all.

Some time ago, I heard an interview with an adventure industry entrepreneur who mentioned that he went to the Prado Museum every day to see Velázquez’s “Las Meninas” because it provided him with a lot of peace, in the chaos of starting a business, clinging to something that does not change. That moment in front of the painting, being in the here and now, gave him the tranquility he needed in times of change.

Because the reality is that we cannot control everything in a normal situation, much less during a crisis. We live, therefore, in “normal chaos,” as Professor Hugo Marynissen points out in his essay “Normal Chaos: A New Research Paradigm for Understanding Practice.”

Addressing Resistance to Dynamic Management

This would be the next logical step in a dynamic environment. The task requires an inclusive methodology—for the whole organization—where usual procedures should be questioned.

This is not easy to do in times of crisis, but it will be easier if we start from a foundation (all the procedures and manuals we use), even if we have to dismantle it completely. As Field Marshal Helmuth Carl Bernard von Moltke, nicknamed the Elder, once pointed out, “No plan, however good, survives first contact with the enemy.” Nevertheless, he was one of the military geniuses who helped turn Prussia into the nation that would dominate Germany. I bet he didn’t do it by improvising.

The most resilient company, by comparison, will be the most prepared when the crisis comes. Improvising during a crisis is the closest thing to committing reputational suicide. A crisis in a dynamic environment is no joke. To address it correctly, among other things, requires surrounding oneself with a good team of professionals with proven experience.

Train, the Dynamic Environment is the New Normal

As in spokesperson training, we must acquire new skills and procedures to manage a crisis.

If a changing environment is characterized by enormous complexity, great uncertainty, and swift changes, do I sit and watch because I can’t do anything?

Trust Your Instincts

Even the four speakers in my example know—or feel—though they don’t say it, they are not on the right track. Although I’m not in their heads, the fact that none of the attendees made a single comment or asked a question, along with the poker faces of all the attendees, means something doesn’t add up.

When a wolf is cornered, it trusts its instincts.

The difference—or similarity—and perhaps the explanation of why Spaniards are good at improvising, is because we let ourselves be guided by the sixth sense. It’s nothing more than picking up the subtle signals from our brain. That feeling tells us what we should do and that we often ignore, especially in a dynamic environment, out of fear of being wrong.

Living in a dynamic environment is not where a person envisioned living when we were children, because humans like certainties. But it is the place where we are, and it fosters crisis. As my colleague Luis Serrano points out, in comparison with forest fires, risks are now of the sixth generation.

Related Posts

Follow us