Whew! The past seven months has been a pretty chaotic time in Washington and across the globe with almost more dramatic episodes of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) than we can count. I am pretty sure that the Hollywood screenplay writers and reality TV show producers have more material than they can use for several seasons. If the potential consequences and implications of this global VUCA vortex were not so daunting with somewhat impetuous leaders in North Korea, Russia and beyond – one might imagine a surreal, Sci-Fi-tinged spy thriller coming to theaters in early 2018. Let’s hope it does not continue to play out with that kind of drama.
We are operating in a world filled with consequences and high performance expectations. The impact of time compression where daily expectations are for faster results and decisions combined with the reality that “the way we used to do it” is becoming obsolete at warp speed – conspire to freeze and paralyze those who are FRAGILE and sets the table for those who are AGILE. Darwin actually said its about “survival of the most adaptable”. You will find many tools and insights throughout our website to help you move from the fragile zone to the agile zone.
There are numerous examples of organizations becoming stymied by their own Internal VUCA. UBER is a recent example of a darling company with seemingly magic touch … then spiraled into whirlpool of internal VUCA around leadership behavior. Certainly the high profile scandals at ENRON, WorldCom and Lehmann Brothers represented out of control internal VUCA. Unfortunately, there has been significant amounts of Internal VUCA impacting the effectiveness and agenda at the White House and Congress. Hopefully, the appointment of General Kelly this week will bring an experienced leader very familiar with all forms of VUCA along with the leadership acumen and discipline to minimize internal VUCA and help build better and faster capabilities to get important things accomplished. As in any organizations, internal VUCA distracts and undermines organizational performance.
As many of you begin your 2018 business planning cycles, it is an excellent time to examine and evaluate your forces of change and the VUCA impacting your success. What are those External VUCA factors that you must face and overcome? What are those INTERNAL VUCA factors that may be undermining and sapping your energy, resources and focus? Take a look at our ORGANIZATIONAL AGILITY PROFILE™ and work with your leadership team on these questions. I will be interested in how the conversation flow progresses. Always remember, as my partner Mike Richardson says … the right conversation flow leads to cash flow!
Love to get your feedback and perspectives on your sources of INTERNAL VUCA and what you are doing.
About Tom O’Shea
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.