VUCA is a business term that stands for Volatile, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity that we wrote about it in our last issue.
As explained in our last issue VUCA world is here to stay. The information era has brought us an immediate and always connected world. The speed of change has increased so much that many scholars are stating that what it used to take 30 years or a generation to change; now it is only taking 10 years.
“The speed of change has increased so much that many scholars are stating that what it used to take 30 years or a generation to change; now it is only taking 10 years.”
This high speed o change is definitely affecting our society. Governments, companies, and nations are struggling to adapt to new changes (some are more successful than others). Therefore, many institutions are falling behind, since they do not see nor understand what is happening, and do not know how to adapt to the new environment.
So, how can we adapt to this new environment? Let’s break this “crazy world” down by using the VUCA concept and analyzing each component one by one.
As explained in our last issue, Volatility is a result of the connections and instantaneity in our environment. The 24/7 connection worldwide makes actions and reactions to be faster. Therefore, it generates instant changes hence more volatility.
To be able to adapt to Volatility we have to be flexible. Flexibility will allow us to thrive with the new tendencies and rules of the market. Moreover, if we want to keep an open mind for getting new perspectives we have to be flexible. It is important to rewrite our strategy and plans in order to adapt to this constant-changing world, as well as keeping track of changes to learn from them.
“It is important to rewrite our strategy and plans in order to adapt to a constant-changing world, as well as keeping track of changes to learn from them.”
There are many people unable to adapt to this changing world as we are getting into environments that are more complex. The daily information we handle is getting bigger in size and expires very quickly. In other words, what we know today is not necessarily the answer tomorrow. The data and inputs that we are constantly exposed to, make our days lives more complicated. Because of this, all fields of works are reaching higher quality standards, but becoming more complex. Moreover, it seems this situation will continue growing.
In order to thrive in complex environments, it is necessary to be surrounded by an interdisciplinary team. For instance, composed of diverse members, with complementary abilities, experiences and knowledge to see the whole picture from different point of views. It is important to highlight that individual decision making processes should evolve into a group decision processes.
“Individual decision making processes should evolve into group decision processes.”
As previously mentioned, summing up volatility and complexity results into more ambiguity and uncertainty
Ambiguity is engaged through values and experience. Having a clear idea of our vision and values will allow us understand which limits should not be trespassed, and which paths should be explored. When you find an unexplored path, it should be followed by trial and error technique. This will lead us to rewrite our plan and learn from it, while holding to our values. Thus, the experience will help us move forward with determination and to have a greater sense of what is correct when taking the decision to following a new path.
“Having a clear idea of our vision and values will allow us understand which limits should not be trespassed, and which paths should be explored.”
Lastly, in order to fight uncertainty we should rely on data to forecast different possible scenarios. The use of information, our own experience and interdisciplinary teams, will help us diagnose current situations and foresee future events.
It is important to learn how to predict future situations to be able react on time. By getting the proper data, going in-depth into subjects, and applying the trial and error technique with it´s learnings, we will be able to be ready for tomorrow.
“It is important to learn how to predict future situations to be able react on time.”
The key skills to thrive into a VUCA environment is to build teams and people with a high capacity to adapt. To promote open-minded attitudes in team composed of people coming from different backgrounds but sharing the same clear mission and values to last in time.
For instance, teams that work ahead of scenarios and with the ability to foresee situations based on data and previous experiences. We are talking about fearless teams, ready to make mistakes and to learn from them, brave enough to search for new goals and to forecast and plan new challenges. In other words, teams without fear of living in an uncertain world.