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Relax, It's Only Uncertainty

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Relax, It's Only Uncertainty

Lead The Way When The Way Is Changing

FT Prentice Hall,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Learn the eight specific behaviors leaders need to cope with ambiguity and change (and the eight that drag them down.)

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Philip Hodgson and Randall P. White provide practical instructions for dealing with change, as all leaders must. Rather than assuming that only certain personality types and traits are suitable for leadership in changing times, they address the behavior patterns that mark a successful leader. The authors place their behavioral concepts in a familiar context with case histories. The true value of their book lies in specific exercises that will enhance your skills in coping with ambiguity. Some level-headed readers may be slightly put off by the seeming wackiness of some of these notions (they range from “spend some time around children” to “analyze how you spend your time”) and the light-hearted tone (they do refer to Star Trek). Lighthearted or not, the advice in this book may just save your job – or your company’s future. This book will interest executives and anyone who is concerned about the fast pace of change and wants some help keeping up.


Leadership and Change

Leaders must cope with change. Formulas that have worked for years are suddenly outdated, and some areas are simply too new to have experts or established market leaders, so any new product or service has a chance to dominate the market. While such rapid change and a near-constant state of ambiguity undoubtedly causes stress, people must remain relaxed in order to lead effectively in such a climate. But how do you stay relaxed if you don’t know what to do next?


The answer is surprisingly simple: practice. Leadership is as much an inner state as an outer position, and its state of mind can be practiced and learned like any other skill. You may have been told that your personality type was suited for certain kinds of tasks and not ideal for others, but you can make surprisingly large changes to your skill level. The ABC’s of change management are:

  • Attitude – Enthusiasm for a task makes learning any skill easier.
  • Behavior – Skills can be learned a bit at a time, reinforcing a positive attitude.
  • Capability – Practice, review your progress and ...

About the Authors

Philip Hodgson, co-director of both the Action Learning for Chief Executives Program and the Executive Coaching Service, has worked full-time at Ashridge Business School since 1983. Randall P. White is a principal in the Executive Development Group LLP in Greensboro, NC, and an adjunct professor at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. Both men have written extensively on executive leadership.

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