VUCA Rising

The pace of change in today’s business world is moving at hyper-speed. Add to that rising complexity and unpredictability, and it can feel overwhelming. The military coined a label for such a world, calling it “VUCA”: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous.

The business world has adopted the term and many books and articles have outlined strategies to help leaders cope with the unpredictability. One of our favorites is an article in Strategy+Business – here are a few highlights:

  1. VUCA isn’t a problem to be solved – it’s a “network phenomenon” within which you and your company must learn to operate effectively.
  2. VUCA doesn’t mean that nothing at all can be predicted. Taking a systems-view, rather than only a detailed-view, can help highlight patterns and dynamics.
  3. To further refine these patterns, ask a lot of questions and challenge the status quo.
  4. Encourage your team by establishing a level of stability and transparency within the chaos.

But is VUCA really rising, or does it just feel like it’s the “new normal”? The Financial Times avoids using the acronym in part because they can’t recall a time when VUCA wasn’t causing mayhem for business leaders.