The acronym VUCA was introduced in the late ’90s by the US army. It described situations in which people are faced with challenges and change. Important features were strategic decision making, situational problem solving, readiness planning and risk management.
These words were also adopted in the workplace, as their meaning is fitting in today’s rough and unpredictable world of business. Therefore, the traits of leaders in companies need to be adjusted in order to survive in the VUCA world. And that might be quite challenging.
The VUCA concept in a business environment can be characterized as:
Volatility represents the chaotic and increasingly unstable market environment that developed from extending global competition, digitization, economic ups and downs, or the uneasy financial market.
Uncertainty means there is no possibility to predict future events anymore. Past issues are no longer suitable for forecasting future results.
Complexity characterizes various business challenges composed of interdependent variables and mitigating factors. It spreads confusion because there is no clear link between cause and effect.
Ambiguity calls for the existence of several meanings for events and actions around us. In companies and on the market there is a lack of clarification and it can lead to misunderstanding and misreading.
Traits of leaders such as motivating others, pushing for changes, seeking new opportunities, leading people or making quick and effective decisions are no longer adequate and easily reachable in a VUCA context. Organizations and companies will need to look beyond the traditional approach of leaders. They will need to work with a different mindset, where probability needs to be switched for possibility.
Join prof. Andrew Sharman at the MasterClass training: Making the Change: Leading for Success and be prepared to succeed in a challenging VUCA world.