Project Management

The Uncertain World

From the The Lazy Project Manager Blog
Peter Taylor is the author of two best-selling books on ‘Productive Laziness’ – ‘The Lazy Winner’ and ‘The Lazy Project Manager’. In the last 4 years he has focused on writing and lecturing with over 200 presentations around the world in over 25 countries and has been described as ‘perhaps the most entertaining and inspiring speaker in the project management world today’. His mission is to teach as many people as possible that it is achievable to ‘work smarter and not harder’ and to still gain success in the battle of the work/life balance. More information can be found at – and through his free podcasts in iTunes.

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Is your business life ‘Uncertain’?

Well don’t panic, you are certainly not alone, but you should accept that you are part the ‘VUCA’ world today!

U = Uncertainty: the lack of predictability, the prospects for surprise, and the sense of awareness and understanding of issues and events.

Meaning: Not able to be relied on; not known or definite.

In a Forbes article ‘What Does VUCA Really Mean?’ Jeroen Kraaijenbrink writes: ‘Uncertainty refers to the extent to which we can confidently predict the future. Part of uncertainty is perceived and associated with people’s inability to understand what is going on. Uncertainty, though, is also a more objective characteristic of an environment. Truly uncertain environments are those that don’t allow any prediction, also not on a statistical basis. The more uncertain the world is, the harder it is to predict’.

The key here is predictability, or the lack of it more to the point. We are creatures of habit and whilst we might demand change and expect change, we sure don’t want to have to change ourselves and that is all part of the uncertainty model in the VUCA world. The (almost) complete disappearance of any normality or certainty in what we do on a week by week, month by month, basis.

The optimistic would argue that when nothing is sure, everything is possible, which is true, but even the most extremely positive people can tire of constant uncertainty and continuous change that is not under their control.

The right, and only sane, approach to this I instead of trying to fight against it is to assess how we can embrace it. Because in uncertainty there is opportunity and not accepting such uncertainty will limit such opportunity.

The difficulty we, as humans, have is that our brains are wired to react with fear when we’re faced with uncertainty. It is just in a DNA; it is the fight or flight overrides that have always been with us. As uncertainty in a situation increases, then the brain shifts control over to the limbic system where our inbuilt emotions, such as fear, are generated. Basically, change worries us and uncertain or unplanned change worries us even more.

And so, the question has to be ‘How can we prepare ourselves to accept uncertainty and to move this towards certainty?’.

Addressing our core and natural reaction against uncertainty is a good place to begin, and then to identifying the positives, the opportunities through the cloud of uncertainty can bring us to a more stable and certain place.

It is about feeling that you are, in actual fact, in some sort of ‘control’.


Join myself and Neil Derbyshire from Clarizen on the morning of 5th December where we will address the 4 main challenges of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) and how working in a business agile mind-set can bring the rewards of stability, certainty, simplicity and clarity to your day-to-day work.

Join this free webinar to learn first-hand how:

  1. VUCA can be used as a catalyst to bringing change in your day-to-day world
  2. How a business agile mind-set will help bring stability, certainty, simplicity and clarity to your role
  3. How technology can help you overcome challenges in a VUCA world
  4. What can businesses do today to prepare for challenges in the future

Register your interest today to avoid VUCA now and in the future!

Let’s Un-VUCA the VUCA world!


Peter Taylor is a change expert who has advised many other organisations on Change and Project strategy.

He is also the author of the number 1 bestselling project management book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’.

More information can be found at

Posted on: November 21, 2019 06:22 AM | Permalink

Comments (7)

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Thanks for giving us this interesting approach!...
Will definitely join Webinar.

Good points and post Peter, will register for the webinar - Cheers !

Sorry, I just realized the timing and day won’t work for me and I can’t edit my comment to thought to mention this in a separate comment. Next Time.

The webinar will be recorded so if you register and can't attend you will get a link sent afterwards to watch the recording

Noted - Thanks for the info Peter, much appreciated.

Dear Peter
Interesting your reflection
Thanks for sharing

He made me travel to Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 500 BCE): "the only constant in life is change"

I kind of like uncertainty; it keeps us on our toes.

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- Groucho Marx