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  • Writer's pictureKirby James

VUCA: Solutions for Today’s Most Pressing Issue.

Covid-19 has challenged everyone, everywhere. It is a perfect example of VUCA.

If you haven’t heard the term VUCA, you know it and feel it everyday. It is a perfect way to describe life in 2020.

VUCA was first discussed in 1987, returned in 2002 (US military college), re-emerged in 2014 (Harvard Business review) and then Forbes jumped on VUCA following a Harvard Professor (Bill George) in 2019.

Now, in 2020, VUCA is back in a BIG way.

What is it? VUCA describes situations that are:

· Volatile (big ups and downs)

· Uncertain (unsure of what comes next)

· Complex (so complicated, there are no simple solutions)

· Ambiguous (we can't easily detect good from bad, near from far)

It does not matter where you get your news, VUCA describes pretty much every day lately.

The VUCA Challenge

VUCA, in some ways, is one of, if not THE biggest threat to your business for two reasons:

  • The difficulty to forecast, plan and be ahead of the challenges of today

  • Your staff are being pushed, relentlessly, to be skilled at dealing with VUCA, but many do not know how.

Why does this matter?

Our ability to deal with VUCA tells us just how resilient we are. If VUCA stresses you out, we make poorer decisions, create issues with how we respond. Our relationships at work and home can suffer. Ultimately, our business can become less resilient and suffer the impacts due to so many different VUCA type situations.

With training budgets under pressure, if there is no comprehensive way to prepare staff on how to be "VUCA resilient" before urgent situations arise, your business is at greater risk. Think about it:

  • Employees are more scattered than ever. Some at work, some remote, many not working the same hours.

  • Your most valued employees are either looking at other opportunities or being recruited or both.

  • Extreme market fluctuations now and forecast to be even more volatile threaten your business.

So, What Can We Do About That?

VUCA requires an unusual approach - it is a shared challenge with a shared solution. It is everyone’s job to learn, teach, coach, and support each other as they learn to become VUCA resilient.

In other words, by coming together, that is the first step to a lasting response to VUCA.

Once individuals and companies accept this first step, being VUCA resilient is all about skill.

What Next?

There are 2 categories of skill development that make individuals and companies more resilient to VUCA: hard skills and soft skills development.

For hard skills, research shows these key skills are critical:

  • Thinking about work like an entrepreneur – looking at how to make the business better

  • Data skills – understanding the fundamentals of “seeing” what data really tells us

  • Design / creative thinking – creativity now, more than ever will lead to greater VUCA resilience

  • Agility - the ability to change fast

Soft skills mainly focus on the core skills to be resilient:

  • Adaptable

  • Self-disciplined

  • Emotionally aware

  • Compassionate

  • Effective at interpersonal communication, especially when things are tough.

What’s the Benefit?

Research from Harvard, the US military and beyond show key outcomes from investing in resilience training to manage VUCA:

  1. Individuals and teams are less likely to make costly mistakes because of their lack of skill to “see” through VUCA situations.

  2. Individuals gain greater personal resilience, reducing lost time and related costs.

  3. As individuals become more resilient, so does their business. According to McKinsey in 2019, when the economic recovery returns, resilient companies outperform their competition as much as 3:1.

Three Solution Options

At Unleashed, we have extensive skills and experience from the front line to the Boardroom in ALL these areas. As a master black belt in Lean, a master instructor in martial arts, educator and executive coach teaching resilience is our core business.

Your organization needs a VUCA coach. But how is that affordable with a VUCA world placing pressure on training budgets?

We offer a range of services to help your business improve its performance in dealing with a VUCA world.

  1. Keynote presentations

  2. Live webinar learning / skills development & coaching sessions

  3. Customized programs

Want to learn if this is worth your time?

Reach out to us and learn how we can bring the skills and benefits of resilience to your organization. Email us at

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