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Degree of Uncertainty

uncertainty scale from ambigious to alternatives to range of outcomes to desired outcome

What do we know? What don't we know? Do we commit based on our forecast?

The left side of the scale represents more uncertainty. More distant events are very ambiguous; the right side is the near-term where you a pretty sure of the outcome, there is less uncertainty and you need to stretch your team to achieve realistic objectives.

In the ambiguous future, however far in the future that is for your business, the path is unclear. What will be the demand? How good are we at anticipating our customers' needs?

As alternatives become clearer, the task is to understand and shape the market, then position your business, and align your people, infrastructure and product offerings.

As the range of outcomes is further refined, target customers and figure out how to get to them first at the least cost. Too often at this point, we over-estimate the uncertainty, find it too hard and stop studying, and just go with a gut instinct. You must consider the 'what if's" during team discussions.

Finally, as we focus on and align to the desired outcome, we make forecasts so they can budget. Here, we often under-estimate the uncertainty (remember aligners do not like uncertainty) and don't allow for enough flexibility. Will route adjustments be necessary? What has been our experience before? How much do we need to stretch?

How do we approach uncertainty? What does the team need to study? Who are the experts?

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