jueves, 21 de diciembre de 2017


Political instability, unstable sales trends, shifting business strategies, digital revolution, technological disruptive innovations, environmental changes and worrying scenarios about global warming and changes in human consciousness are just some of the events that are shaking the markets, our organizations and our lives at a whole.

All of them have a tremendous impact on us as human beings and, hence, on how we lead organizations and manage teams.

The VUCA term was first introduced in the early 90s by the US Army War College to refer to the multilateral world that emerged after the end of the Cold War and was characterised as being more Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous than ever before.

In the business world the VUCA concept took off after the global financial crisis started in 2008. Nowadays we live in VUCA times and that is increasingly defining the challenges and opportunities of our immediate future and, specially, the development of leadership skills.

The concept describes a business environment featured by:

·    * Volatile. Change happens unpredictably, especially for the worse. Some times in a very intense manner and without prior advice.
·      * Uncertain. Absence of information that can be taken as definitive, even if it is currently true. Lack of clarity about present and future situation, and difficulty to rely upon.
·      * Complex: Confusion all over. No clear connection between cause and effect. All organizations are affected, further than sectors or areas.
·      * Ambiguous: Not a single or unique interpretation. Even objective facts are interpreted in different ways.

VUCA environment has to do mainly with two aspects of Leadership: the set of capacities and skills we develop and the way we interpret and react to the environment (the conditions under which we manage and take decisions such as planning and manage eventualities).

From the observation and close work with a large number of leaders and managers we can say that there is a short number of attitudes and skills that are common to those who seem to be more successful:
·      * Focus on your Mission and Values. Stick to robust values and a power generating Mission for your company, department, unit or even for yourself.
·      * Generate a Vision with the capacity to engage others around it. Create a compelling image of your preferred future that may work as a focal point for your team and for you.
·     *  Build a broader understanding (systemic vision) of your company and its environment looking at the whole picture, including the unseen relations and patterns.
·      * Develop your Versatile and Agile Leadership skills and tools, specially towards:
o   Emotional Intelligence and self control in stressful situations.
o   Self energy renewal, positivism and enthusiasm.
o   Change Management skills, tolerance to error and frustration.
o   Fast learning (flexibility, self criticism and feedback)
Usually VUCA times come along with an increasingly high number of changes at all levels of the organizations (business, processes, tools, etc.) that personnel has to cope with.  A fragmented vision over management tends to separate things and disregard the huge impact that change has on persons, especially on leaders. Organizations that do not pay enough attention at developing the conditions and skills that their leaders need usually suffer severe negative effects on the achievement of their goals and, finally, on their bottom line.

 About the author: Joan Cos Codina is a Managing Partner at the international consulting firm in leadership development , strategy and cultural transformation TAGA – (www.taga.net) and co-Founder and Partner at the center Pinea3 Living Organizations. He has a broad experience in managing change in organizations.