I catch myself doing it – wanting to deal with VUCA and VUCA prime in a linear fashion. Wanting to be clear about which dynamic it is, so I know I’m responding with the right VUCA prime dynamic. Wanting to somehow make VUCA make sense and play fair. I know better. It’s a losing battle and really none of that matters. VUCA and VUCA prime aren’t linear. That’s part of what makes them relevant and significant and powerful – and difficult! And this highlights one of the biggest challenges we face in improving our capacity to deal with VUCA and respond with VUCA prime – the difference between what I know and how I use that knowledge.
We talk about the VUCA environment being like a river with cliffs on either side that don’t allow us to pull out – we have to keep riding it. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting (and trying to create) an experience of stopping for a bit. Unfortunately, when I do that I’m only fooling myself, which puts me further behind in my quest to be capable of responding positively and productively to our VUCA world.
Instead, what I need to do is find ways to give myself some of the benefits of that pull out while continuing to ride the river. Agility – being able to take advantage of the calm when it presents itself, and then be ready to paddle the minute that’s what’s needed. Vision – staying focused on where I want to be, so the decision I make in both the calm and the rough will help get there. Understanding – figuring out what is the essence of experiencing calm – for me. Clarity – knowing how to provide it for myself.
And, it’s like the oxygen mask on the airplane – I need to do this for myself before I try to do it for anyone else.
So, it’s not first about what I do – it’s about who and how I am. How I frame this VUCA world, and the characteristics and qualities I develop in myself. The skills matter as I make choices about what to do once I accept that I’m constantly riding this river.