How to Manage Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity – Part 2
4 ways how leaders can deal with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.
In an earlier blog we looked at the challenges leaders face in dealing with Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity – or VUCA.
As business leaders what can we do to address VUCA in a sustainable and effective way?
A good model, that addresses the four areas of concern that business leaders need to deal with, is by using VUCA Prime. This consists of:
- Vision – having a clear picture of the purpose of your business and where you are going
This is cascaded throughout the business providing a shared and commonly understood vision, which acts as the yardstick for all decisions, and which aligns people, resources, investment and efforts at all levels and in all areas
2. Understanding – the leader takes the time to stop, look and listen to what is happen, this is beyond their functional expertise and beyond just their business.
Leaders need to be able to see beyond the “noise” and share the vision in leading their people. In doing this they need to communicate with their employees at all levels, and to develop and demonstrate teamwork and collaboration skills.
3. Clarity – the leader needs to spend the time and effort in deliberately working to make sense of the chaos that exists.
Leaders need to not only see the major trends and developments that are occurring, but to see the interactions at a more granular level and to see how the interdependencies can affect their business, as well as that of their competitors, suppliers and customers..
4. Agility – the ability to communicate openly across the organization and to move quickly to apply solutions, the rapid prototyping of ideas & actions to develop solutions.
Agility is about speed and learning – being able to quickly develop solutions, trial them, reject them if necessary, and to learn from them in developing the next iteration. Agility is focused on the business of the customer, and allows you to pivot – leveraging your efforts and momentum to date to keep moving forward in building a stronger and more robust business.
So What Do Leaders Need To Do?
- Use Their Foresight – be aware of what is happening outside their functional and business areas; solicit external feedback; recognise that we are dealing with dilemmas where there is no single solution but rather there are choices which are either mutually exclusive or equally favourable (i.e. you are caught between a rock and hard place); tap into non-traditional networks for alternative experiences, ideas and perspectives.
- Create Insight – explore multiple options in dealing with dilemmas, see what works and what doesn’t, gain early feedback and continually learn and refine your approaches.
- Take Action – execute successful approaches and bring the experience and learning into continually improving how they, their people and the business work.
Leaders have the responsibility for driving this throughout the business, and for making everyone accountable. Develop and share a clear vision; going slower to build your understanding of your business environment will help you go faster; understand the interactions and inter-dependencies of both the macro elements and the associated nuances; and try new solutions, be prepared to fail, and continually learn.
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