Unpredictable means you do not know what is round the next corner, so how do managers remain effective in an uncertain business climate? The turbulent times we live in bring daunting problems for businesses. They face a growing global marketplace with organisations spanning time zones and borders. Organisations worldwide are grappling with solutions to effective management, as business challenges grow more complex. Ingar Skaug, chief executive of one of the world's largest shipping companies, Wilh.Wilhelmsen, said: 'Experience shows that turbulence can be a positive force if we stay open to the possibilities and adapt.' He said that the way to do this was to 'innovate - coming up with new approaches and heading off in new directions'. Nonetheless, for many executives, the uncertainties faced often obscured the best, most exciting opportunities available and seeing beyond such uncertainties required a different approach to strategic planning and implementation. This is one area in which executive education can help. According to Annie Koh, dean of executive education at Singapore Management University, it can help sensitise managers to future uncertainty. 'It can help chief executives prepare their middle managers to be aware by facilitating and unlocking the mind. We get participants to consider naive questions like, 'Why are you doing it this way? Are there other ways?' We teach them to anticipate, to manage their own resources, to manage the unknown,' Professor Koh said. She said executive education could prepare students to manage uncertainty by showing them what to look for. 'Traditional courses teach in silos: marketing, finance and so on. We integrate finance with marketing, get them to look for red flags and how to know if things are going well. We also teach them how to learn from past experiences, using examples from participants' own companies.' According to Professor Koh, organisations have to invest across the spectrum, not just at senior manager level. 'Strategy, for example, can be taught at different levels. At senior-executive level, we call it 'visioning into strategy'. At middle-management level we call it 'strategy implementation'.' She said both taught strategy, but courses were aligned according to what needed to be delivered. Executive education programmes can complement the efforts of the organisation and the individual to address the issues of an uncertain future. Mr Skaug said: 'It is tempting to try to cope with change by imposing order, rules and new boundaries. But that can cost us dear by stifling creative problem-solving. The key to success is the ability to see new possibilities when we view the world.' In their book The Leader's Edge: Six Creative Competencies for Navigating Complex Challenges authors Charles Palus and David Horth wrote that when managers faced a complex problem, they tended to spend only 10 per cent of the available time examining the problem, while 90 per cent of their time was spent on generating a solution. The result was that they often ended up solving the wrong problem. Based on their extensive research in all levels of leadership, Palus and Horth suggested several proven approaches for managers to break free of habitual ways of seeing so they could become innovators. They include standing in different places to shift the perspective. For example, a marketer becomes the customer; the problem is turned upside down providing the manager an unfamiliar view, and opportunity to take a fresh look at a problem. Executive education can provide managers with the context and space to develop their skills at managing uncertainty. The problems facing managers in our modern world are tough. However, learning to embrace turbulence as a positive factor will help them churn up ideas, promote innovation and find solutions to complex challenges, thereby building confidence and helping them succeed.