We have been using VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) to describe the world in which we live and our response to it since the United States Army War College used it following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. Imagine what military planners faced with a radically different international security environment that had emerged. VUCA was used to describe it. Now business, in this age of digital transformation and expanded risk, is using it as well.
Let’s face it, risks and opportunities abound in a VUCA world. The risks are hard to see because they are multi-layered and intersect in a “tangled mesh of reaction and counter-reaction”. And we find, much to our dismay that not everything is black and white. And change is the only constant. Just when you think you are there, there is a shift, and all your old mental models no longer apply. This causes uncertainty, doubt, and fear, often paralyzing us while the window of opportunity to address the risk and seize the opportunity closes.
We have been pursuing the guides that can help us be better leaders in this VUCA world, and we found another in Germany: Waltrud Glaeser.
We have a great conversation around helping leaders “return to curiosity” about themselves, the others around them, and their impact on their companies and the world. We come away with a positive substitution for the VUCA acronym: Vision, Understanding, Clarity, and Adaptability. And that is a worthy starting point for leader’s growth, personally, professionally, and within the context of their business.