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Managing in a VUCA World


Have you been feeling overwhelmed, struggling to stay on task, blindsided by emotion during these hard times? VUCA, which stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous, is used to to describe the type of high-stress, high-demand scenarios that can rapidly degrade our attention. You might say our whole world is having a bit of a VUCA test right now.


Volatility: refers to the speed of change in an industry, market or the world in general. It is associated with fluctuations in demand.

Uncertainty: refers to the extent to which we can confidently predict the future. Part of the uncertainty is perceived and associated with people’s inability to understand what is going on.


Complexity: refers to the multiple factors that we need to take into account and relationship between them.

Ambiguity: refers to a lack of clarity about how to interpret something.




VUCA and new competences


Technological advancements in artificial intelligence and robotics are changing business models and industries. These changes are taking place at unmatched speed. Leading in a VUCA world not only provides a challenging environment for leaders to operate it, but also provides a much-needed range of new competencies.


People need to develop relevant competences in order to adapt to the reality that we are living, in order to succeed. Studies show that cognitive readiness, which is the agility to handle the situation at hand, is one of the most important skills. Leaders need to develop high level of cognitive readiness and have a mental, emotional and interpersonal readiness for uncertainty and risk. Succeeding in this volatile world, leaders need to have critical thinking, which involves strategic thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making.



Mindfulness and VUCA


One of the ways in which organizations are addressing VUCA situations is through the introduction of Mindfulness techniques. Mindfulness can transform VUCA thought narratives into those of opportunity. Studies show that these transitions of thought lead to changes.

  • Volatility can be transformed into VISION

  • Uncertainty can be transformed into UNDERSTANDING

  • Complexity can be transformed into CLARITY

  • Ambiguity can be transformed into AGILITY


Vision - Paint a picture of the future you want. This will help as a compass and for orientation in order to spark motivation.

Understanding - Understand interconnections and make them transparent.

Clarity - Focus on what counts and what it's really about. Trust, transparent connections and processes.

Agility - Flexibility and agility. Promote a culture for making decisions and accounting for mistakes.

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