There is change.Change means “something NEW is happening.”Whenever something new happens that impacts you, you have to decide what to do about it, and that includes the decision to do nothing. You must choose.So first we need to understand that we never have complete information when deciding what to do about something new. That is present only after, never before, we act.And sad to say, whenever we are given incomplete information, there is uncertainty.And making decisions in the midst of uncertainty is stressful.Decisions nevertheless have to be implemented; otherwise they are barren, a pure waste of time.It gets more precarious. Whenever you implement a decision, you court risk: It might not work as you intended.Of course, there is no risk as long as you do not act. Making a decision without implementation is risk free.However, implementing a decision in mid-stream carries with it no uncertainty. You have decided, and you are acting.Uncertainty and risk are two different concepts. Right? Uncertainty is related to decision making while risk is connected to implementationTo be a leader, manager, executive or parent, you have to be able to deal equally with uncertainty and with risk. Both are stressful.And not everyone can handle the burden of stress. Many people want the salary of a leader, an executive, but not the stress that comes with it.That is one reason why executives are paid higher salaries. To take the stress.But not all executives manage the stress well. Some are bureaucrats who just follow the manual, or company policy, and implement next year what they complete last year, and thereby avoid the stress of managing change. This is one of the corporate world’s unacknowledged secrets.It is most decidedly an anomaly. It should not be that way. But the fact is companies age. And as they age, they choose leaders who do not make waves, do not lead, and sorry to say, do not create change. And it is these leaders who accentuate the continued aging of the organization.You can cut uncertainty in an environment of mutual respect by jointly discussing and developing your decision: How to manage change, within the new situation now facing you .A complementary team can help you deal with uncertainty because each member of the team sees a different angle of the problem, and thus highlights issues you alone could not have perceived.To reduce risk, not eliminate it, there must be common interests among those involved with, and impacted by, the change.And yes, all this is highly improbable: Common interests on every subject all the time? It is utopian thinking.True. But there could and should be common interest in the long run; thus the need for mutual trust.When there is mutual respect and mutual trust, the stress is not eliminated but is minimized. Without it, the stress might be overwhelming. Paralyzing the company.Why overwhelming?Because change is accelerating and the world is becoming more complex. Problems arise more rapidly and tend to be more complicated. The result is uncertainty and risks are higher. And growing.Thus the companies that survive and flourish and take over the rest of the industry are those that develop and nurture a culture of mutual trust and respect.That is the Adizes Institute’s specialty. Forty four years of experience.Can it be taught?Sure. This is the role of the Adizes Graduate School for the Study of Change and Leadership. It grants Masters and Doctorate degrees in this field.

Written by
Dr. Ichak Adizes