Have you opened an email to find the department or organisation is going through a restructure – and it has to be done now? Have you planned for months the new project, only to find at the last minute forces beyond your control turn your plans upside down? Is the rapid pace of change causing you to become paralysed with your decision making? Do you feel there is a lack of clarity and uncertainty in your organisation? Don’t worry, you’re not alone – you are living in the VUCA world – of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. The new ‘normal’.
VUCA is an acronym derived from the American Military Academies, predominately given more emphasis following the collapse of the Berlin Wall (9th November 1989). The fall of the Berlin wall had many repercussions, and in particular it opened up the field of military strategy from facing a ‘predictable’ and ‘known’ enemy (e.g. the Soviet Union-CCCP) – to now the whole world. This in turn led to whole country and regime changes – e.g. devolvement of the Soviet Union (CCCP) to Russia and neighboring independent countries, and the ensuing power struggles. The world as we knew it would never be the same again.
Shortly after this, the business world adopted the VUCA strategy terminology as they too were drastically changing with open market forces, expanded technology, rapid innovation, globalisation and dynamic influences. The traditional view of ‘predictable’ strategy and solid leadership theories in the business world were being questioned and tested to the maximum.
These impacts have also had an immediate effect on our workplace, dynamics and organisation structures – with virtual teams, 24/7 communication access, Generation Y’s and Millennials, to name a few. The working world that we operate in is just as susceptible to the forces of VUCA. New leaders were emerging, who were agile, innovative, changed the rules of the game, even their dress and deportment went against the grain (e.g. Jobs & Zuckerberg – jeans and tee-shirts over suits and ties). The traditional ‘corporate’ leader was being challenged.
So, what does it take to lead in the new VUCA world. It requires a new way of thinking, understanding and managing change, the adaptation and simulation of knowledge, empowerment and trust, teamwork and creative ideas, collaboration and development, harnessing and utilising the best, gaining respect through actions rather than just position. You need the knowledge, skills and techniques to turn: Volatility to Vision; Uncertainty to Understanding; Complexity to Clarity; and Ambiguity to Agility. Mastering these will help your development as a competent Leader in today’s new dynamic and ever changing world.
The world is changing – are you ready to lead the change?
For further information on how to lead in the VUCA world – please contact a member of the GLOMACS team about our innovative, powerful and thought-provoking programme: ‘Leading Through VUCA: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity’.