How to confront uncertainty in your strategy

By Chris Bradley, Martin Hirt, and Sven Smit | McKinsey&Company

Lack of certainty about the future is the very reason you need a strategy. Instead, embrace probability.

“Predictions are difficult, especially about the future,” quipped Yogi Berra (and, before him, physicist Nils Bohr). This rings especially true for those trying to run a strategy process. Uncertainty is not only everywhere in and around strategy—it is the very reason we need strategy. Without uncertainty, we would just need a plan to go from A to B.

“Why do we shy away from dealing with uncertainty? The root of the problem is our tendency to view strategy as a purely intellectual exercise—a sort of corporate game of chess, perhaps even played in three dimensions by its best practitioners.”