The basic fault lines today are not between people with different beliefs but between people who hold these beliefs with an element of uncertainty and people who hold these beliefs with a pretense of certitude.

Peter L. Berger

It would be disingenuous to say that the dust has settled since the election, and I don’t know anyone who’s absolutely certain what is coming next. The quote above it is from October of 1997, but it could easily have been written in November of 2016–right after all of the polls and pollsters and prognosticators found out that certainty is an illusion.

The good news is, whether we know it or not, economic uncertainty has always been with us. Even in good times, businesses fail. And even in times of great upheaval, other businesses thrive.

The question is, how is your business going to do in the coming months and years? Are you going to hunker down and wait till you’re sure which way the wind is blowing? That might not be the best strategy. Here is Alan Greenspan from 2007:

 . . . and the one thing all human beings do when they are confronted with uncertainty is pull back, withdraw, disengage, and that means economic activity, which is really dealing with people, just goes straight down.

Alan Greenspan

Last week, the Harvard Business Review’s Insider newsletter was all about how businesses should handle uncertainty. It links to several good stories, but if you only have time for one, check out “The World Just Got More Uncertain and Your Strategy Needs to Adjust” by Martin Reeves. It’s a long read but dense with content.

E-mail me at if you’d like to talk about how to increase your business’ agility in the face of unpredictable change.

I’ll leave you with one more quote, this time from the recent Nobel Prize winner, Bob Dylan.

Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.



photo credit: Roberto.Trombetta waves via photopin (license)