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Hurricane VUCA Tests and Inspires Our Agility

Tom O'Shea |

HARVEY, IRMA, JOSE, KATIA … they used to be just nice names but now are forever associated with widespread fear, disruption and potential devastation.  In this “6-degrees of separation” world, most all of us know at least one person or family experiencing or anticipating the VUCA forces of one of these hurricanes.

These massive natural disasters wreck havoc and overwhelm us with their destructive intensity while also creating the gloom of helplessnessespecially when it involves protecting our loved ones.  All of the VUCA dimensions are in full play during these natural calamities –
  • Volatility of the event and after shocks – will there by more to come?
  • Uncertainty about so many aspects of life, health, livelihood and future decisions with many bad choices?
  • Complexity surrounding almost every aspect – insurance, logistics, safety, employment security, short term and long term housing, etc, etc?
  • Ambiguity in seeking right outcomes – what is right scenario and what factors should be considered in deciding?
No doubt these events test the limits of our human capacity to cope and all instincts for survival.  We also see so many acts of bravery and selflessness during these disasters.
  • First responders giving their attention to saving and caring for others while their own families affected also
  • Neighbors helping neighbors without hesitation or regard for other differences
  • Thousands of others from across the country and globe giving generously
What is it about the chaos of crisis or natural disaster that brings out the best in so many … in our homeplace and in our workplace?  I cannot count the number of times i have heard in team workshops or read in organizational agility surveys about the amazing teamwork that comes together whenever we face the crisis?  It always begs the question – why don’t we operate this way all the time … with highly focused sense of urgency, attentive listening and responding empathetically with each other and with everyone operating with the shared sense of teamwork and goodwill?  I must assume it has to do with both the physiology and the psychology of the crisis moment … maybe heightened levels of epinephrine plus serotonin contributing to higher energy to seek well-being.

One of the benefits of modern technology and social media is to help us ANTICIPATE CHANGE in dangerous weather patterns to help us get prepared.  Hurricane IRMA has not hit land yet so hopefully those who are in the predicted pathway can prepare for the worse case scenario.  What will be the VUCA hurricanes likely to disrupt your 2018 success plans?  How equipped are you to see them coming and get prepared for the worse and best case scenarios.  Sometimes these disruptive forces open areas of opportunity for those with the vision and foresight to sense and respond.

What will INSPIRE your agility journey?  Will you wait until the hurricane crashes your house down to be convinced of the need to be prepared?  Or will you be one of the proactive champions building the adaptive capacity throughout your organization to help you not only survive but to THRIVE!

You will find lots of ideas and suggestions on our website … as well as in conversation with any of our partners.

About Tom O’Shea

Tom O’Shea, CMC
Principal, Agility Consulting
Organizational Agility Practice Leader

Volatile, unpredictable, even erratic- these are the times we live in and exactly why Tom O’Shea is considered a trusted advisor and collaborator helping leaders, teams and organizations adapt and thrive by becoming more focused, fast and flexible in an increasingly complex and ambiguous world.

As Principal at Agility Consulting and Training, Tom brings a unique blend of strategic, operational and organizational expertise and support that is rare and valuable. With perceptive insight, proven strategies and impactful coaching skills, he helps clients at the enterprise, team and individual leader levels exceed even their own expectations. Learn more about Tom here.

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