Leading in a VUCA World

Businesswoman walking on a tightropeIn a vacuum, leadership would be a lot simpler.  For example, you could learn the skills required to engage different people, create a compelling vision, align stakeholders with the vision, and execute it relatively quickly in a linear fashion.  But we live in a VUCA world, which is the opposite of simple and linear.

First developed in the 1990s by the U.S. Army, the term VUCA describes the post-Cold War environment that is more unpredictable than generations before us experienced.  Despite its military origins, VUCA applies equally well to civilian life and leadership, as well.

VUCA is an acronym that stands for:

  • Volatility, especially as it relates to the dynamics of change as it has increased in speed, volume, type, and scale.
  • Uncertainty, arising out of the increased volatile environment that makes forecasting the future more difficult.
  • Complexity, leading to confusion as cause-and-effect relationships are more difficult to determine.
  • Ambiguity, or the existence of multiple meanings that results in a lack of clear answers and solutions.

In short, outcomes are no longer as easy to predict with accuracy for our human brains as they may have been for us to predict in the past. Every decision, both in our personal and business lives, may effect and be affected by a larger set of rapidly shifting variables than we can easily integrate.   Once you embrace the concept, you may start to recognize VUCA dynamics operating around you in many different contexts.

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Your organization’s success and reputation hinge upon your leadership. Five-star general and world-famous leader, Douglas MacArthur, described leadership as a multi-faceted ability.  Whether you lead a military establishment, a startup company, or a non-profit organization, succeeding as a leader requires you to hone your leadership skillset and identify what really matters to your organization.

 

What are the key behaviors that leaders should exhibit in 2018?

The first step is to identify the key behaviors that account for the overwhelming majority of successes for people in a leadership role.  Researchers have isolated four leadership behaviors that account for 89% of leadership effectiveness. By focusing on the four leadership behaviors below during the new year, you can bolster your success as a leader.

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