The important variable in the environment is how predictable it is. This is largely driven by its familiarity. Many businesses routinely deal with uncertainties which would defeat others because they are familiar, and the organisation has learned over time to create processes and techniques to deal with them. Pharmaceutical companies routinely make big bets over which drugs to move into Phase III development; oil companies can make fairly good decisions over drilling exploration wells. Neither could do what the other does.
However, if the environment contains uncertainties that are unfamiliar, past experience is a poor guide to the future and making predictions becomes dangerous.
The important variable in the ways of working is whether they should be optimised for a steady state or adaptive. The ability to adapt has a cost. In some cases, it is better to standardise and hone efficiency introducing incremental improvements. Many – though not all – manufacturing and logistics processes are like this. In others, adaptation to continually changing circumstances is a necessity. Many innovation processes are like this.