The acronym VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) was originally introduced in the US Army War College in the early 90’s to describe the shift to asymmetrical and multilateral challenges for the military following the Cold War. Since then, it has been used more broadly to help describe the challenging context many organizations are facing today—one of accelerating change and disruption.
The VUCA World has a significant impact on individuals, leaders and organizations:
Individuals—It is projected that as many as 45% of the jobs today won’t exist in 10 years. Traditional career paths are shifting and people will go through multiple transitions over their working lives. These transitions will require foresight, planning and resilience. They can be a time of great stress, anxiety, and result in overthinking without clear and purposeful focused direction. As human beings we are wired for comfort and stability; career coaching during a time of transition can help individuals regain a sense of control, confidence, understanding and direction.
Leaders—Leadership is all about change. With accelerating change comes increased pressure on leaders to perform and the leadership skills of the past are not enough for success in the future. New leadership competencies will include Contextual Intelligence, providing clarity in uncertain situations, dynamic organizational alignment and building employee engagement in a diverse workforce.
Organizations--The age of sustainable competitive advantage is over. Many industries are facing significant disruption from new technologies and non-traditional competitors. Additionally, traditional management processes are built-off an annual cycle and too slow and rigid for this new world. Leaders must rethink the way they manage their organizations to increase their agility and ability to deal with uncertainty.