The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

RLF Reflection: Decision-Making in Uncertain Times

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On October 29, Coco Chu gave a presentation on decision-making in uncertain times. This proved to be a timely topic as converging pandemics has largely disrupted every aspect of our lives. At the end of her presentation, we were able to recognize different types of uncertainty, define “ambiguity absorbers” vs. “ambiguity amplifiers” and discover news ways to effectively make decisions in uncertain and unprecedented times. Ultimately, Coco believes decision-making is inherently data-driven. However, it is important to note that sometimes the necessary data to make good decisions remains inaccessible.

Personally, I really appreciated Coco’s presentation as I can take the knowledge that I gained and apply it to my life right now. I think the ability to deal with uncertainty is crucial for any good leader because uncertainty is inevitable. Thus, I think it is important to recognize and focus on the things you can and cannot control so you can spend your energy accordingly. Leaders who can navigate ambiguity and uncertainty is a testimony to their other leadership skills. The ability to manage uncertainty requires resilience, clarity, vision, reflection, awareness and more.

As leaders on campus, one way we can cope with COVID-19 induced uncertainty is by embracing it. The reality is COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon and I am not even sure when we will ever get back to our “normal.” But, what I do know is that the pathway to overcome COVID-19 is fraught with challenges. In our respective groups and organizations, we should be there for one another and remind each other that you are not alone. Additionally, we should use this time to be present in everything we do in order to avoid uncertainty overwhelming us. Despite the fact that so many things are out of our control, we can always control what we pay attention to. We can use this time to create a habit of checking in our mind, body and friend.

-Written by Oumy Kane, Class of 2021 Rockefeller Leadership Fellow 

As Rockefeller Leadership Fellows, seniors gain a better understanding of the qualities and responsibilities expected of leaders. As Fellows take part in the workshops, discussions, and team-building exercises, they examine their skills, qualities, and attributes as leaders and analyze how these influence teamwork and achieving goals. 

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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences