Home Leadership Leadership Lessons Five ways to prepare for the unexpected
Five ways to prepare for the unexpected PDF Print E-mail
Written by Supriya Jain   
Wednesday, 06 August 2014 09:18

In the last decade there have been significant changes in the global landscape. Millennials have entered the workforce, digital technologies have changed the way we work, communicate, socialize and shop. These technologies have also lowered competitive barriers, changed business models (think the payments industry after Paypal, music industry after iTunes, car rentals after Uber, currencies after bitcoin and education after MOOCs) and given rise to new risks (cybersecurity, reputation damage, etc.). Add to this the financial meltdown triggered in the U.S., the unemployment crisis in Europe, the social and political unrest across the globe, and the prospect of imminent resource constraints and you have a bubbling soup of uncertainty.


Is there a way to be sure of what tomorrow holds? Probably not, and while risk management practices and contingency planning is essential, your business needs something more than that to be prepared for the unexpected.

  1. Understand your core – In a fast changing landscape it’s easy to lose sight of what you stand for. Defining the core purpose of your business can be your guiding beacon in the choppy waters of change.
  2. Design a modular organization – Think of your business as a Lego structure with one piece – the core – being sacrosanct. Modularity can help you deliver on the fast response time demanded by unexpected events. In times of stress, it can help you localize the crisis situation by containing it within that setup.
  3. Build flexibility in your approach – Hedge for continuity. Identify functions that can absorb the stress in case another module fails. A flexible approach to strategy and operations will help you scale your business and adapt to opportunity in new markets.
  4. Continuously reinvent yourself – Transform ahead of the market. We are so used to ‘this is how it is done’ approach that we close our eyes to innovation. Preparing for the unexpected sometimes means that we have to do the unexpected ourselves.
  5. See opportunity in adversity – If you do encounter an unexpected event look at new realities for your business in changed circumstances. Simulate and act on scenarios that your business can adapt to and best thrive in the changed environment.

The above steps will help you build a resilient business capable of bouncing back from shocks, unavoidable in this new normal.


As Oscar Wilde said - “To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.”


Supriya Jain is a marketer, currently heading the Thought Leadership Marketing Initiative at Wipro Ltd., where she has successfully revamped content strategy, revitalized social presence and contextualized Wipro’s point of view by institutionalizing experiential and real-time thought leadership. She is also the founder of Miitra, a social organization for the elderly. You can connect with her on Twitter and follow her blog.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 August 2014 09:24

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