Thriving Through VUCA
The military acronym of VUCA has given us a shared language that represents our experiences of volatility-uncertainty-complexity-ambiguity in our rapidly evolving realities. Depending on the influences of nature and nurture, each of us has a unique lens of perception that drives our reactions to these conditions. The one common denominator underlying all of these conditions is best represented by our capacity to tolerate, process, and manage complexity. VUCA is likely to trigger both conscious and unconscious reactions that can potentially put us into a survival state of being. In Survival, we attempt to reduce complexity. Although this coping strategy can be highly effective in the short-term, it can also diminish our effectiveness over time. For example, we may be more likely to resort to the “tried and true” to create and maintain a sense of stability. If we over index on stability to avoid the threat of VUCA, we can potentially lose our competitive edge by becoming more reactive rather than proactive. We often forget that stepping out of a survival state of being is a conscious choice. Survival causes us to operate with a narrower field of possibilities and every possibility is more likely to be perceived as a potential threat. When we can use our conscious awareness to move out of a survival mindset to embrace complexity, we can become more dynamic and innovative as we learn to engage the VUCA world differently. VUCA is here to stay as our new normal. Finding adaptive ways to transform our fears around uncertainty into a catalyst for turbo evolution can empower us to lead and collaborate in some new, inspiring, and profound ways.