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The 3 Cs of Executive Leadership in Uncertain Times

For leaders hoping to bring about positive changes within their organization, understanding how you can use these three Cs of change leadership can lead to great success.

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Making decisions when there is certainty can be difficult, but it's not as hard as having to decide during uncertain times. Leaders need to make good decisions, no matter what the outcome may be. In certain cases where risks are minimal and effects might be familiar, becomes very easy and quick. But in situations of , such as unpredictable events, making a decision without seeing every option available could lead to disaster.

A leader needs insight into both lack of certainty and extreme stress/uncertainty before they can think through their options and take advantage of everything they have available to them at any given moment. They need this knowledge, so they know what actions will or won't work for different types of conditions, which will allow them to properly assess their situation and make an informed decision accordingly.

In some cases, we have just enough information to gauge the likely outcome of a decision. These decisions are much easier than others, because you can look at past data or past experiences and know that the future will follow in a similar pattern. In these instances, making hard choices for yourself is easy. For example, when you drop a glass of water on the ground, it spills; so, it's clear what happens when you're dropping things around liquids — this type of event is called certain.

Some people think risk and uncertainty are the same thing, but they couldn't be more wrong. While both involve unexpected results, risk involves unknown odds, while uncertainty is something that cannot be determined due to lack of data. To say someone incurs risk would mean they knew all possible outcomes; however, with uncertain events, there isn't even knowledge about how bad things could get — which means it's nearly impossible to plan ahead for anything that might happen next when any option seems like possible future reality.

Related: How to Become a Successful Change Leader

Leadership in the midst of change

Making a successful change is one of the hardest and biggest problems faced by modern organizations. The world is changing rapidly, and in order for companies to survive, they need to bring about a positive change. Without doing things differently, it becomes nearly impossible for the company to succeed in such a competitive environment. Nevertheless, even when making an organizational change is necessary, many companies still fail miserably, because they don't understand what changes are needed and which strategies will work best, according to research. And this failure rate is higher than the success rate, too! To successfully bring about a change in the company, effective leadership skills are essential. For leaders hoping to bring about positive changes within their , understanding how you can use these three Cs of change leadership — Commitment, and Collaboration — could be enough guidance towards success.


The first C of change leadership is communication. When it comes to bringing a positive change in the organization, communication plays a vital role. The leaders must connect with their employees and tell them about the what and why. It is necessary to tell them about the purpose of bringing this change within the organization and why it is important. The leader must communicate with the whole organization to make sure there is no resistance. The change should be communicated on all levels — no one must be left behind, because it can cause problems. When leaders make a change decision without communicating with their employees on all levels, problems and resistance occur, and it can negatively impact the change.

Related: The 5 Most Important Aspects of Leading Others in Times of Change


Effective leaders are those who collaborate with their employees to make sure the change that they are about to bring will be a successful one. Leaders who are not effective don't include their employees in the , because they think what they have decided is best. However, this can hinder successful change. Effective leaders encourage their employees to leave their comfort zones and think outside the box. So, before making any decision, they consult with their employees and gather ideas that might help them in devising the right change strategies.

Related: 6 Strategies You Need to Run Your Company Through Uncertainty


In order to fully commit to the change, leaders should make sure that their own behaviors also support that change. Even if it is different than their leadership style, they must come out of their comfort zone to support the change, because only then will it be successfully implemented. Effective leaders are those who know how to adapt to the changing environment and tackle their challenges, and it is extremely important to do so while bringing change to an organization.

This is part one of a three-part series. Stay tuned for more advice on executive leadership in uncertain times!

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