Leading in a VUCA World

Whether you are managing a business in America, Europe, the Middle East, or Japan, managers are faced with an unprecedented amount of challenges from the dramatic and fast-changing business environment of today. This is known as the VUCA world.

The VUCA World

Volatility—The nature, speed, volume, magnitude, and dynamics of change

Uncertainty—The unpredictability of issues and events

Complexity—The confusion that surrounds any organization

Ambiguity—The haziness of reality and mixed interpretations of events

Adaptive leadership tactics for operating in a VUCA world:

Volatile Situations:

·      Communicate clearly

·      Ensure your intent is understood

Uncertain Situations:

·      Get a fresh perspective

·      Be flexible

Complex Situations:

·      Develop collaborative leaders

·      Stop seeking permanent solutions

Ambiguous Situations:

·      Listen well

·      Think divergently

·      Set up incremental dividends

Countering VUCA requires:

·      Vision - an intent that seeks to create a future

·      Understanding - the ability to stop, look, and listen

·      Clarity - the ability to help make sense of the chaos

·      Agility - organizations where”wire archy” is rewarded over hierarchy

How do managers adapt to leading in a VUCA world?

1.     They let go of what defined success in prior roles and organizational models, and prepare to measure up to new ones.

2.     They have the ability to keep their ego in check—an enormously difficult challenge that requires a shift backwards.

3.     They have a keen desire to keep learning, and the ability to see new leadership and new organization as an escalator to on-boarding a whole new set of skills.

4.     They adopt an “open-to-everyone-in-the-organization” stance, even to those who were initially doubters or critics, as well as to new employees.

5.     They are able to work with the contradictions and paradoxes that increasingly come with navigating the VUCA world, rather than railing against them. Indeed, many organizations are finding themselves living in the world of “both, and” instead of “either, or.” Those most affected by the VUCA world face contradictions more frequently and are more often surrounded by uncertainty and ambiguity.

Countering VUCA: VUCA Prime

“We are moving from a world of problems, which demand speed, analysis, and elimination of uncertainty to solve, to a world of dilemmas, which demand patience, sense-making, and an engagement of uncertainty.”

You can learn about our approach for developing, sustaining, and creating the mindset of VUCA SKILLS and BEHAVIORS for managers to lead in a VUCA environment.

Maria RomeroComment