A reflection on a VUCA world

VUCA World

– an extract from The Upside of Down by Bruce Whitfield.

As a consultant and facilitator, I have been ‘guilty’ of mentioning this acronym a few times recently, and so in an effort to retain the wisdom in an acronym that has perhaps been around for a long time, as well as to remain relevant, I will add in an “E”.

The “E” stands for Exponential.

While it is true that perhaps there is nothing new in the Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity which our world finds itself in, it has been there before. Many times.

Perhaps what is new, is that it is all more exponential than before. Through the infinite connections we now have to news, social media and each other, it seems as though things just move in a faster fashion and along a far less linear path.

So if we are in this Exponential VUCA world, what is helping me get through it – and perhaps not just get through it in a purely survival sense, but really see the opportunity which such a world may be presenting to us right now.

Maybe there is an EVUCA response to an EVUCA world?

  • V = Vision and Values. Do we have these ingredients for ourselves and our teams going into a new world ? For if not, we are surely lost before we take the first step.

  • U = Understanding and Unlearning. How do we gain a deeper Understanding of ourselves and others? What do we as a world need to Unlearn as we evolve?

  • C = Collaboration and Communication. I hope we are learning that collaboration will be a great key which will unlock as yet unimagined possibilities going forward. Communication speaks for itself. There are other ‘C’s” – add Care, Calmness and Compassion for a start.

  • A = Awareness and Agility. Could we become more aware of ourselves, each other and our surroundings? How do we become more adaptive in our agility?

You may well ask, “Well what about the “E” in this new acronym?”

Maybe:

  • E = Energy. We can drive a million Rands worth of motor car, yet it remains useless if there is no charge in a One Thousand Rand battery. What will we do to charge our own batteries through this global challenge?

We can’t give what we don’t have. We cannot think of charging others when our own battery is flat.

It is a fundamental law of Life and Leadership.

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