This month’s blog and newsletter topic is “unintended consequences.” When a company reacts to events in the environment or the marketplace without examining those events for themselves, that reaction can have consequences. The usual excuse for them is, “We didn’t intend those consequences—they were unintended.”

A leader’s job is to avoid such consequences. This is done through a leader’s primary function: analysis, prediction and planning. The second of these is prediction.


What Makes the World Unpredictable?

The first factor that makes the world unpredictable is the lack of accurate data. Inaccurate data is, of course, prevalent everywhere. People tend to simply grab onto the most sensational of this data and pass it along, which creates even more confusion.

But the second factor that makes for an unpredictable environment is even more treacherous. You have evaluated the information as covered in our earlier article on the analysis step. You now have accurate, verified, reliable data and are proceeding with your prediction.

In the middle of making that prediction and formulating your planned direction, confusion can be thrown into the market from media reaction to an event or some sort of upset. This type of confusion is actually designed to take you off your game.

For example, you have predicted that you’ll be able to continue to sell a particular product throughout the year because you have verified, reliable information that you will have a steady stream of buyers that need and want this product. A media report comes along that says that fears are running throughout the marketplace that buyers may decide to go in a whole different direction. This report casts doubt on your carefully researched data.

If you react to that confusion, you are once again operating in an unpredictable environment. Or, put simply, you are back at square one. You are no longer sure if your data is reliable or not.


Staying the Course

So what can you do in such a circumstance?

First, remember that you have researched and verified your data. It is reliable. No matter what comes out of the media or gets reported from whatever source, that data is stable and can be utilized for your prediction.

But there is a second step, equally as important. Make it part of your reliable data and, therefore, part of any prediction made that such confusion is bound to occur. You can count on it showing up, as it will always be there.

Just as you have your mission as a company, so does the media. Your mission is to move forward and succeed. Their mission is to sell advertising space, and they do that by attracting as many readers or viewers as possible. Whenever something happens that could be sensationally reported, they do so. They can even make things up in some cases (as covered in the earlier blog with a great example).

When your first step, analysis, has been carefully accomplished and your data verified, hang onto it. Add to it the fact that somebody, somewhere, will very likely throw confusion into the marketplace while you formulate your prediction and plan. Make that a routine part of your prediction, and you’ll rarely go wrong.

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