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Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity, how to plan for the world of the future

Justin Small, Founder of Future Strategy Club

#VUCA: What is it and why does it matter to business success? 

There is no doubt that the outbreak of COVID-19 highlights the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world in which we now live. From permanently working at home and social distancing to travel bans and physical health risks, COVID-19 is an extreme case of VUCA. Within these unprecedented times, tomorrow’s difficulties are hard to predict, and businesses, in particular, are having to adapt to change and challenges faster than ever before.

First used by military planners, the VUCA acronym represents an ever-changing, unfamiliar and unpredictable environment, such as COVID-19. It is also a practical code for the set of challenges and difficulties that we face and must overcome when managing in an ambiguous world. Many businesses today are struggling to successfully manage within this environment, where traditional or outdated approaches to leadership, strategic thinking and risk management can no longer be applied, and new leadership skills are required to navigate uncertainty.

Managing uncertainty in the workplace is essential for today’s leaders and can be the difference between a business’s success or demise. Adaptability, agility and courage are the powerful tools needed for business leaders to effectively manage the unknown and pull through these challenging times. Implementing a VUCA leadership model can help support businesses with the short-term and long-term effects of COVID-19, whilst also teaching leaders how to continue to navigate the path ahead successfully.

The importance of implementing a VUCA leadership model for businesses 

Businesses and business leaders have never before managed such a significant event as COVID-19. And the pandemic has driven a range of unexpected and unbelievable changes in every aspect of a business. COVID-19 is an extreme example of the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world in which many businesses are struggling to operate. It is a world in constant flux, where ambiguity and complexity are guaranteed.

These new and ever-changing circumstances demonstrate that today’s business world is more volatile, unpredictable and uncertain than it ever has been. This means for many businesses that re-designing their leadership models is more essential now than it ever has been before, with the pandemic completely re-defining the workplace. Implementing a VUCA leadership model creates both short-term and long-term business success as companies can effectively cope with the varying challenges that today, or tomorrow, will bring. Successful leaders can use VUCA leadership models to build their strategies, reset their workforce regulations and innovate their company policies.

At Future Strategy Club, we work with a body of experienced transformation and restructuring experts who now have circa 15 years’ worth of skills to tap in to, having weathered the 2008 crisis and now COVID-19. These experts have helped businesses through extreme periods of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity by providing expert guidance and re-designing their leadership models. At the moment, this support is becoming the difference between many business’s success or demise.

Justin Small, Founder of Future Strategy Club

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