The Benefit Of Doubt: Harnessing Uncertainty In Your Strategic Plan


British author and philosopher Bertrand Russel once said that “the fundamental cause of the trouble is that, in the modern world, the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt”.

This is a concept that should resonate with CEOs around the world, the best of whom understand that doubt is an asset, as opposed to an emotion that is detrimental to the success of their organization.

According to the latest CEO Report from the University of Oxford Saïd Business School and Heidrick & Struggles, 71 per cent of CEOs today report doubting themselves at times. The remaining 29 per cent either claimed to never doubt themselves, or answered no but offered a further explanation.

While those decision makers that report complete confidence might think their hubris gives them an advantage, the reality may be quite the opposite.

“Doubt is a generative force to be harnessed, rather than a weakness to be cured. Understanding the landscape of doubt helps CEOs leverage their discomfort for more timely and informed decision making,” read the report.

So how does this play into your strategic planning initiatives? And how can you harness doubt to more effectively plan for the future of your business?

The role of doubt in strategic planning

Strategic plans allow you to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best, implementing strategies and goals that are designed to provide you with the resources you require to succeed in both and best and worst case scenarios.

It is impossible – and imprudent – to eliminate doubt entirely. However, good strategic planning can equip CEOs with the resources they need to make strong, informed decisions about the future of the business.

Executives should also not be afraid to question their strategic plan over time. Your business and the landscape around it are constantly evolving, so it pays to regularly review your strategic planning initiative to ensure it remains relevant and up to date.

With a strong strategic plan in place, your organization can overcome uncertainty and harness the power of doubt to achieve future success.