So, managers, what do you today and in coming weeks to help deal with events that are outside your ability to influence or control?

Duke’s Fuqua School of Business delivers advice on how to management a business in a time of heightened uncertainty through a mixture of best practices gleaned from its most recent CFO survey. These include much more than just cutting costs.

For examples, managers have to step up their own game.

Here are the “best practices” as cited in the survey in which execs said their biggest challenge right now was finding and retaining workforce talent:

  • The most common strategy is to “stay the course”. By this companies mean not to become frozen into inaction, but to continue to pursue core strategies built on the companies’ strengths, focusing on what is under their control. For the most part, when uncertainty is high, this also means don’t expand into new projects that stretch the firm in new directions o Focus on getting through the short-term, remaining flexible, without losing sight of long-run objectives
  • Many firms pull back and operate very cautiously, making changes slowly … some cut existing or cancel new projects but this is the exception rather than the rule
  • Reduce costs, though continue to take care of the core
  • Study high quality economic and scenario analysis. Understand the economic outlook of various scenarios very well and how to react to each. Hire experts to help you understand issues. Be more active in risk mgmt. and hedging.
  • Many firms highlight the need to reduce financial risk by accumulating liquid assets, especially cash. Try not to increase debt loads
  • Increase communication with, and take extra care of, customers
  • Get involved in the process, lobby