Making the Speaking Business More Customer Focused

Uncertainty is not the Enemy


About Tom Koulopoulos

Tom Koulopoulos is chairman of the Boston-based global futures think tank Delphi Group, which was named one of the fastest growing private companies in the U.S. by Inc. Magazine. Tom is also the author of eleven books, a frequent business commentator on MSNBC, a columnist for Inc.com, an adjunct professor at Boston University Graduate School of Management, an Executive in Residence at Bentley University, the past Executive Director of the Babson College Center for Business Innovation, and past Executive Director of the Dell Innovation Lab.


In a conversation I had with Peter Drucker, the father of modern day management, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, we talked at length about the cyclical nature of uncertainty. He felt that we were entering a prolonged period of uncertainty that would test many businesses. But he also felt that it was a cycle that could be understood and navigated.

There has been so much talk about uncertainty lately that it has become somewhat of a whipping post for everything that ails us.

Despite the disparaging and often negative views applied to uncertainty, uncertainty itself is not the enemy. Rather, history bears

out that a climate of uncertainty creates some of the greatest opportunities and periods of innovation, which are quickly followed by periods of high prosperity.

Often it takes a crisis of extreme proportions to bring us to the brink of breakthrough opportunity. Ironically, uncertainty often spurs creativity that is impossible to find in times of prosperity. It is a human condition that we do not feel the hunger of innovation as keenly when our bellies and wallets are full.

Yet, this does little to allay our current day anxiety. The pace of uncertainty seems daunting. The

reality is simply this, we need to accept uncertainty as a permanent part of business and life. It plays a role in creating opportunity and in providing a platform for innovation and renewal.

Most of all, uncertainty brings with it new and entirely unexpected possibilities that we inevitably cannot live without—perhaps could not even have survived without.

A certain world may be what we want and what wish for but it is not what we need and it is not what we have.

We may never harness uncertainty but we can learn to accept and leverage it.

To Learn more about Tom contact [email protected]

Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency. www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866-727-7555 or [email protected]