Most leadership teams have a deterministic view of the world. We simplify problems and reduce them into manageable parts. We make assumptions, leverage our experience, bring expertise when needed, and generate one view of the future: forecasts, budgets, and performance metrics. At this point, we feel good because our craving for certainty is satisfied.
Unfortunately, many situations in today’s world don’t lend themselves to a deterministic approach. They are simply of a different nature: no matter how much analysis, experience, or expertise we throw at them, we are no closer to understanding the dynamics at work. Just like a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil can set off a tornado in Texas, a man eating a bat in Wuhan can put the world’s economy to a standstill.
In the face of complexity, our predictions are worthless, just like our 2020 budgets were.