In this VUCA world, leaders need to continuously adapt to change that is speeding up every year. Those leaders that are able to do this are in a position to co-create a future in which they can survive, and thrive. To find opportunity in the VUCA dynamic, leaders need to rethink the commonly employed linear change models. These models describe a change process in which each step is required, in a planned order, and in a one-way top-down direction. They produce change initiatives that detail how the change process will uniformly unfold across the organization. When this method of change encounters the VUCA world dynamic it succeeds less than 30% of the time.
VUCA Prime ~ a positive alternative
One of the answers to how we can be part of the successful 30% comes from The Institute for the Future fellow Bob Johansen who in 2007 published the idea of transforming VUCA into Vision, Understanding, Clarity, and Agility. This is called VUCA-Prime, and we place an infinity loop (∞) between them to show their dynamic interaction.
VUCA, on its own, appears to be a set of problems to be solved. However, VUCA isn’t solvable. Including VUCA-Prime illuminates the dilemma leader’s face today. VUCA ∞ VUCA-Prime is an adaptive challenge that provides leaders with the opportunity to manage their business by incorporating the best of both sides of each dynamic.
VUCA ∞ VUCA-Prime requires both a new perspective and a new set of tools for leaders. As a dilemma, each component exists simultaneously in a both/and state, as opposed to an either/or state. Both VUCA and VUCA-Prime exist concurrently in a dynamic state that alternates between the two. Understanding this perspective, we can take advantage of the benefits of each, while minimizing their limitations. Understanding this dynamic provides leaders a way to navigate successful change – change that moves the organization toward coherence rather than into chaos.