Navigating an uncertain world

Updated 03 February 2017
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Navigating an uncertain world

We live in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. The rapid pace of change led by technology, events with geopolitical impact, demographics and other key drivers is bewildering. Navigating our way in this turbulent sea of change requires great care and greater skills. The arena is no longer regional or national, it is global. Events in the farthest corners of the planet can impact our lives significantly.
What hope does this hold for us, who have such an abysmal track record of coping with change? But cope we must, and cope we can, if only we pull our heads out of the sand. Men leave their footprints in the sands of time, ostriches bury their heads in it. The choice is ours and it is stark: Go the way of the dodo bird or succeed in this world.
Success has four key ingredients: Attitude, creativity, productivity and stretch. When attitudes are positive, the realm of possibility is infinite. When they are not, nothing seems possible except shifting the blame. Creativity is a precious gift from God, yet most of us let it lie dormant because we are too lazy to exercise our imagination. We have straitjacketed our minds, fettered our thoughts and held creativity captive.
Productivity is about getting the most mileage from available resources. Given their scarcity, leveraging them to achieve the maximum possible output is vital. The space for slack does not exist. Stretch is about setting ambitious goals then stretching out to achieve them. This applies as much to personal life as it does to one’s profession. It is important from childhood to try to achieve something that seems a bit beyond one’s capacity. That is the way to grow.
Can things be different? Change is a function of dissatisfaction with the status quo and the stimulus necessary to precipitate it. When dissatisfaction is low, a large stimulus is required to produce change, but when dissatisfaction is high, even a small stimulus will suffice. It is hard to believe that we can be anything but extremely dissatisfied with our present situation.
What is needed to turn things around? Where will the required stimulus come from? This is where we need thought leadership to be the catalyst. For that to happen, we have to provide an institutionalized platform to bring people and ideas together. Unless we make thought the springboard for action, our responses will be confused, contradictory and counter-productive. — Hasan Ghias, Jeddah