Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”

– Eisenhower

“These are uncertain times,” and if I had a dollar for every time someone said that lately, well then these would also be profitable times, such is the overuse of a good cliche in a crisis. There are three classic responses to the threat of ambiguity; fight, flight or freeze. In a global pandemic, there is nowhere to run.

When the choices are narrowed to fight or freeze, the fighters have it. That is because a decision to do nothing is a decision. The ‘nothing’ decision or the ‘wait and see’ decision is a decision to react not to respond. It is a decision to be behind the pack.

The price you pay for comfort.

The price you pay for not having an appetite for uncertainty is coming last. The only advantage is that you will be comfortable until you are suddenly very uncomfortable.

It is time to fight, and I don’t mean at the supermarket over staples. I mean it is time to step into the intensity of these conditions and work out what you CAN do, and then doing that with everything you’ve got.

Plans are useless

Confession time, as a reformed perfectionist – this is something that I have had to learn to move into the pace of the artificial intelligence arena. My business qualifications are in strategic planning research and when I started that, we were looking at the benefit of strategic plans with three and five-year terms. By the end of that, we were looking at how that traditional way of thinking was about planning was no longer fit for purpose – not in a world that was changing so quickly.

The business world had begun to look at new ways to work in rapidly changing environments and they drew inspiration from the military. Conventional warfare with clear rules of engagement changed globally and suddenly with the events of September 11.

The army did away with top-down rigid chains of command and adopted a fluid mode of operation called VUCA. VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Sound familiar? It is essentially a fun acronym to describe knowing that ‘it’s a hot mess out there!”.

VUCA soon gained traction within the business community because during the technological disruption, things in business started to feel like a hot mess piled up on shifting sands.

And now that we had a name for it, we are halfway to solving it. VUCA Prime has taken the place for ‘planning’ for a lot of strategic planners to replace volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity with:

Vision Understanding Clarity Agility

Build an agility muscle

There has never been a better time to be calling people in your database and connecting with a message of calm and clarity. There are tactical things to implement now, creative solutions to service your clients and community to provide value amidst the chaos.

If you have a plan, when others present a guess; if you have an adapted and applied solution for real estate and your competitors are presenting ‘wait and see’ have made a decision to do nothing; and if you can fight your way to business as usual while your competitors are waiting for the bottom of the market – then your fight will win beyond their freeze.

Remember, while history never repeats it does behave in familiar ways. At times like this, markets don’t disappear, they intensify. The quantity is stripped out and the fight over quality becomes important. Quality sellers and quality buyers will still be in the game but they will seek out and work with quality agents.

Your job is to demonstrate value and RiTA is here to help you do that at scale so that you can mine for opportunity. In every crisis, there is always an opportunity, some of it will be mined by RiTA and some of it will present in the market. Those agents who find it will be the ones who can work out that agility muscle will be the market leaders who emerge and sustain.

If you really need some certainty, here are some things you can be certain of

You will make a bunch of mistakes. Of course, you will, that is the business of pioneers but with every mistake, you will learn and it adds to the agility muscle through learning.

You will cut your teeth. Good leaders and leading agents are not forged in good markets they learn through adapting to bad markets and working out what it takes to survive.

When you do survive, and you can and you will, you will be a much better agent walking out of this than you were walking into it.

You can also be sure that we are here to help in any way that we can.