An old military acronym, VUCA helps bring a sense of stability to a business world that is continuously in flux.
Today’s business world is all about change. Economics, technology, and politics continue changing at such a rapid pace, and businesses and individuals struggle to keep up. We live in a world filled with Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity (VUCA).
How, then, can businesses not only survive but truly thrive in the chaos of a VUCA world?
The U.S. Army War College introduced the notion of VUCA to describe the state of the multilateral world at the end of the Cold War. After the terror attacks of 9/11, VUCA took hold, especially in the business world.
Business leaders around the globe started using the acronym to describe the ever-changing landscape of local and global economies. Describing this business state of VUCA as the “new normal.”
At Centric Consulting, we strive to provide the best customer experience possible in this VUCA world. Let’s take a look at how, through examining each component, you can use VUCA not only to your advantage but also to your clients and customers. Remember, VUCA stands for:
V – Volatility
U – Uncertainty
C – Complexity
A – Ambiguity
Volatility: (Value through Vision)
We characterize volatility by a rapid or unexpected change.
Any change, let alone unexpected change, can unnerve companies as they work to identify and determine what deliverables they need to be successful. With increased volatility, leaders often struggle with making decisions related to things such as project prioritization, infrastructure upgrades, new product development and releases. What if leadership makes a wrong decision? How will that decision impact the company, employees and potentially our community? Volatility often leads leaders and companies to analysis paralysis.
One effective way to combat volatility is by providing Value through Vision.
Leaders often focus so intensely on the daily minutia of the organization that they can lose sight of the company’s overall vision. By positioning your company well, you can bring value by helping your customers, or your own company, regain or develop their vision. Having an outside point of view often enables you to take the next step. Many smaller goals can and should exist within a company, all while pointing back to a unified corporate vision.
The value we provide may not be as grandiose as creating a corporate vision. Still, it could be a department, product or project goal, all of which are extremely important to the overall success of any company.
Uncertainty: (Understanding through our Unique experiences)
As individuals, we all have unique experiences that shaped us into who we are today. Taking time to listen, ask relevant questions, and seek to understand the problem allows us to draw from our unique experiences and work to provide understanding and thoughtful insight. Trying first to understand will not only set you apart but give the credibility to share your unique experiences.
Complexity: (Clarity through Collaboration)
Out of all the VUCA components, complexity has the greatest potential to trip us up. The truth is, we often don’t truly understand the complexity and nuances of a customer’s business. True, we all may have industry knowledge and even some personal working knowledge, but each unique customer and their situation requires intentional consideration.
Coming alongside and partnering with your customers allow you to provide Clarity through Collaboration.
Overuse and overhype affected the original meaning of “collaboration.” We can attribute a large part of the problem to not fully understanding what true collaboration means.
Collaboration in its most real sense is simple: “Two or more people working together towards shared goals.”
Working through the first two points of creating vision and understanding allows you to engage in more profound collaborative efforts with our clients and begin working towards shared goals. By drawing on your unique experiences, you can provide clarity that chips away at the complexity piece by piece.
Ambiguity: (Action through Agility)
Ambiguity is the final component of VUCA. Simply defined, ambiguity is a situation that is open to or has several possible meanings or interpretations. In today’s business world, ambiguity abounds.
Overcome ambiguity with Action through Agility.
Successful companies push a culture of innovation that allows for speed while encouraging action through experimentation. Having an agile mindset allows management to pursue a goal in a way that is adaptive, flexible and responsive. Despite uncertainty and ambiguity, trial and error lead to adjustment and, frequently, a quicker resolution.
The concept of VUCA may be new to some, but it is not new to the business world. How you choose to handle this new world as a company and with your clients or customers makes all the difference. Let’s strive to continuously look for ways to provide the best experience to our clients and cut through the noise of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.