VUCA leading light and fastTraditional and experienced ways of leading are not necessarily going to serve organizations into the future.

Our Courageous Leaders facilitators increasingly challenge top leadership teams during workshops and programs to examine their current status quo and identify how to disrupt it to unleash their people and their technology to release the exponential possibilities residing within.

We believe this takes courageous leadership.

We have mentioned in earlier blogs the existence of VUCA in our current business environment and not as some new gimmick to lay blame for our ineffectual leadership but rather as a way of deciphering what is really happening and what might need to “really” change if we want to keep operating with the speed and agility required to create ongoing success. So let’s take a few moments to create clarity on VUCA:

V = volatility

things changing or likely to change in a rapid, sudden or extreme way; Australian business leaders may like to consider the impact of Australia having had 5 prime ministers in the past 5 years when previous to that we had only four over a 32 year period. I know our business certainly felt the impact of this kind of volatility on the decisions made by business leaders about the future development of their people.

U = uncertainty

what we currently know may be unreliable or indefinite or we may just not know yet! This is increasingly challenging for many existing business leaders as their “norm” has been to know and to control. Uncertainty means we have difficulty predicting – even if you have three leaders working from the same information they may make very different assumptions and predictions about the future. Our decision-making models and processes are not currently geared for this kind of uncertainty – we have not developed the level of agility in decision-making to take account of this kind of uncertainty.

C = complexity

as we expand into global markets and increasingly integrate technology into our innovative thinking so we increase the complexity – so many integrated parts to understand the whole makes it very hard for any one leader to understand and “be” confident in their choices and decisions. The US sub-prime mortgage crisis was a perfect example. Complexity puts trust under scrutiny and for many business leaders, it just doesn’t stack up and accordingly they are not ready for this kind of vulnerability and consequently decisions are stalled. For too many it appears easier to stick with current status quo as they know this has worked in the past. Even though this choice results in many of our top leaders working longer and longer hours and under significantly more pressure than ever before.

A = ambiguity

multiple meanings, different contexts, things not clearly known. How can we possibly lead in this kind of environment? One thing for certain is – our old ways will not work.

Take a few moments to consider your senior leadership teams and how tightly they are holding onto status quo in the way they lead themselves, others and the business.