I've been a fan of Bill George for a long time. I love his book True North, and have recommended it to scores of clients. I especially appreciate George's focus on Authenticity in leadership, and his creation of exercises to enable a leader's self reflection at any point in his or her journey.
So it did not surprise me that when I recently searched for VUCA on the Web that Bill George's name came up. Of course George would be familiar with the concept of the world's becoming Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. Much of his work has been about finding one's center amidst challenge, so naturally he would be aware of the VUCA acronym as shorthand for the sometimes incapacitating phenomenon of constant and unpredictable change. What DID surprise me was that George has a parallel concept of VUCA Tools that may enable leaders to deal with VUCA more successfully.
While my own VUCA Tools acronym stands for Values, Us, Curiosity, and Aspirations, George's is unique to him. He has labeled his VUCA 2.0, representing his belief that Vision, Understanding, Courage, and Adaptability are what leaders need to navigate in an uncertain world. In perusing what he has to say on the matter, I find we are well aligned. I appreciate that each of us in our work with leaders finds that it's not enough to recognize risk and threat. Rather, we have to create ways to move forward and address the challenges. There's no space to operate the way we always have because the world in which we are taking action is not the same. The approaches we've habitually used will work far less frequently, and sometimes not at all.
So what's a leader to do? Do the work on YOU. Clarify your values and your aspirations. Identify the people around you will candidly point out your blind spots and underscore your strengths. Create strong partnerships. Keep asking questions, curious questions, ones that you are courageous enough to ask even without knowing the answers. And whether you as a leader choose to use VUCA Tools, or VUCA 2.0, I suspect that you will create greater impact and feel empowered in the face of our rapidly changing world.
VUCA: Volatile. Uncertain. Complex. Ambiguous. Sometimes all four at the same time. And we experience this VUCA world as threatening, anxiety-provoking, and undesirable. There IS another way. VUCA Tools are the approaches we've identified as particularly powerful in creating our response to the world's volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. VUCA Tools: Values. Us. Curiosity. Aspiration. VUCA Tools turn threat into opportunity, and anxiety into eagerness. Throughout our web site site, in our blogging dialogues, and if we choose to partner in working together, you'll have the opportunity to discover and embody VUCA Tools. What do you think so far?