This year we have a deeper understanding of the VUCA world than ever. Natural disasters, viruses, economic recessions, conflicts…… Just wonder how would the next black swan affect our life.

Take a breath. Don’t get into too much panic about uncertainty. A mindmap here could help you find the inner certainty and strength fighting against VUCA challenges.

Key Takeaways

What is VUCA

VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, used by the U.S. military to describe the radically changing environment after the cold war, which still works for the description of the world we are living in today.

Take a look at how professor Nathan Bennett from Georgia State University explains what VUCA really means for you .

Why VUCA matters?

In a VUCA environment, since changes are inevitable, we have to learn to get along with them. The changes are considered to be nonlinear, unpredictable, and discontinuous:
Unpredictable: The only certainty is uncertainty, which becomes the new normal.
Nonlinear: Linear thinking becomes insufficient to accurately explain things. Linear value chains are gradually replaced by interconnected value networks.
Discontinuous: Breakpoints, mutations, and discontinuities exist between different business paradigms. With new technologies advanced and applied, discontinuous or disruptive innovations leads to a change in consumption habits.

By saying that, the logic of how things work along with fundamental business model has been significantly changed. The patterns of cognition and behaviour of people should be reviewed accordingly. Otherwise, individuals who fail to adapt would be eliminated, as productivity increases, instead of retiring tools and equipment like in the old days.

Effects of VUCA environment from Managing in a VUCA World.

Remember how you work from home in your cosy pyjamas with kitten lying on your laptop these days, collaborate with your colleagues and continue doing business with your clients and partners online? That’s just exactly what we’re talking about.

How to resolve VUCA challenges?

With challenges comes opportunities. In this world, standard gives way to individuality with individual values emphasized. By proper approach and mindset, one would be able to turn threats into opportunities.

First, there are some principles that may help:

  1. Embrace uncertainty and change. Since they are inescapable, no need to be overwhelmed and just be prepared to deal with all kinds of results brought by the unexpected issues.
  2. Ensure the ‘certainty’ are certain. It would be great to understand personal goals for a particular period and identify all the resources available to achieve the goals.
  3. Keep learning. Prepare the knowledge and skills for self-development and insight so that you can manage when a challenge/opportunity comes.
  4. Keep trying and keep innovating. There is no single standard answer that could always answer the same question. Adjust the solution and utilize the available resources in an innovative way.

To gain more specific ideas, refer to the suggestions from Bob Johansen, Nathan Bennett and MindTools with VUCA partitioned.

Interacting continuously with the VUCA environment is actually a chance for individuals to build leadership and achieve personal growth. Now, why not open XMind and start to craft your personal vision?

All diagrams in this post are made with XMind 2020.