Article: Leading in a VUCA world


Leading in a VUCA world

Leaders must grapple with a disruptive change in technology, competitor dynamics, and consumer expectations. Here are the key actionable insights on how leaders can navigate through the uncertainties and lead in a VUCA world.
Leading in a VUCA world

Consider the 1980s, AT&T was the only telephone operator in the United States, the Internet was still more than a decade away. Communication was limited. Now, consider 2018, we have smart systems that communicate independently, information is digitized, industry and business models have entirely changed. Making decisions in today’s environment has become increasingly difficult. 


Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity (VUCA)

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These four characteristics or VUCA increasingly define our world. Large organizations are grappling with disruptive changes in technology, competitor dynamics, and consumer expectations, geo-political situations. Leaders, too, should recognize this new world and work out to navigate through this complex world.

Capt. Raman, President Risk, Security & New Ventures, Reliance Industries covers the fundamentals of thriving in a VUCA world.

Here are the top ways to lead in a VUCA world:

Practice Agility:

Explore multiple views when dealing with a complex problem and to step back to examine the assumptions being made.  Catalyst leaders hold the tensions within paradox (short-term vs. long-term, practical vs. idealistic) to lead teams who come up with unique solutions.

Lead without authority:

With flat organizational hierarchies and shift towards collaborative cultures, a new leadership style has emerged- Leadership without authority. The goal of leadership without authority is to get others to cooperate and engage willingly. This leadership style is a blend of personal and interpersonal skills that form the basis of a leader’s ability to impact, influence and inspire others.

Leading with “Speed of Trust”:

Every problem companies experience with their employees springs from the same cause: there is too little trust in the environment and unfortunately, leaders often don't realize that they create their leadership problems. Hence, build a team where employees see each other as friends rather than colleagues.

Building leaders for tomorrow:

"It is not about education but imagination!” says Capt. Raman.

We need leaders who can navigate through the times of uncertainties and ambiguity. We need leaders who have a creative mindset to approach different complexities and risks differently.

The future will be led by leaders who will have the ability to create and realize innovative solutions primarily in the face of structurally complex or changing situations.

Renowned scientist, Louis Pasteur who invented the pasteurization process said that “fortune favors the prepared mind.” The leaders need to be prepared to lead in times of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. This is the new reality!

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Topics: Leadership, #PMLnD

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