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10 Things We Learned About Embracing Ambiguity

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The latest 10 Digital Ladies event tackled the question ‘How to embrace ambiguity and uncertainty in a fast-paced digital world?’ In an ever increasingly fast-paced digital world, where the widening technology landscape and technology breakthroughs are causing business models to change and adapt faster than ever, how do we as humans embrace the ambiguity and uncertainty that comes hand in hand? We were joined by Anne Simmons, this year’s winner of the 10 Digital Ladies Technologist award 2018, and expert panellists, Reshma Shaikh, Chief of Staff to the COO at Springer Nature, Lindy Stephens, independent consultant and leadership coach in the software industry and Lindsay Ratcliffe, innovation and experience design leader and author.
If you missed the event, don’t panic…take a look at the 10 things we learned at the event.
  1. One of the hardest things is to stay resilient through change. Anne says, “I have had to get better at embracing ambiguity, I don’t find it easy”. Some people find it easier than others but that’s ok. You can learn some tricks to help you cope.
  1. Reshma shared a top tip “resilience is about personal management, you need to learn what your strengths and weaknesses are”. It’s useful to create a support network around you, with people who can help guide you and give you honest feedback. “But it’s also important to be able to check in with yourself,” added Lindsay “and work out how to get yourself out of the low”
  1. Being able to check in with yourself is very important. Knowing where you get your energy is key. “I like to think of resilience like a bucket; when its full I can handle anything but when it’s empty I feel like I need to hide under a duvet” said Anne. “It’s all about learning what fills up your bucket, and also knowing what drains it.”
  1. Lindy pointed out “You can’t always get it right. Sometimes you don’t have all the you need – so how can you know what is right or wrong?” You just have to go for it and work through it as you go.
  1. During times of change and uncertainty it’s important to be transparent and open. Anne said, “The first thing a lot of people think is ‘what does it mean for me’, -remember people need to hear that”. And be honest. Lindy adds, “If people think you are lying about something, they start to question what else you might have lied about.”
  1. There are many different layers of communication. Reshma said, “It’s important to be able to say, I will treat you like a human, please treat me like a human too”. It’s often easy to forget how other people are feeling through the changes- especially those in a leadership position. You need to understand and acknowledge how people are feeling.
  1. Not everyone will feel the same about change as you. Some people thrive during change, whereas others can fear it. Lindy said, “I love a crisis, it’s my bread and butter, but sometimes I forget people feel different to me.” BY taking a moment to consider all points of view, you’ll be able to bring everyone on the change journey with you.
  1. Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Anne said, “You can choose to think about things in a different way, it’s unlikely that everything is changing, hold on to that and deal with them in different ways.”
  1. As a Leader you need to be present, don’t shy away from the change “make sure people know you care, it can really make a difference” Reshma adds. Present doesn’t always mean you have to be in the room. Call in to meetings, send emails, you can show presence without actually being physically present.
  1. It’s important to remember that you have a voice in this world of ambiguity. Lindsay said, “You as an individual need to ask, is it going to change for the better, do I have a role in this change? And remember, its ok to say, ‘I’m out’. It’s your life – you have to do what works for you”.

So, knowing yourself and what makes you tick is one of the most important things during times of ambiguity. Always remember, it’s your life – own it!

The event was kindly hosted at the amazing new Photobox offices in Clerkenwell and supported by the brilliant people from Bright Innovation, our marketing partners. It was a great event, we’d like to thank the panellist and everyone who attended, and we can’t wait for the next one in September.

Remember, if you have any thoughts on working with ambiguity and would like to share them with us please comment below or join us on Twitter or Instagram. As always, we encourage our community to offer ideas for our next 10 Digital Ladies book! If you still haven’t got your copy of our first book, Career Hacks, you can register for a copy here:

Nina Lovelace10 Things We Learned About Embracing Ambiguity

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