VUCA Survivors – At Least for Now
The complex challenges before us in the world today are often labeled VUCA challenges.
VUCA is an anacronym for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. An expression that originated in the US Military years ago, VUCA is frequently used to describe the most complex challenges we face today.
VUCA challenges often have immediate and long-term consequences that are far-reaching in scope. VUCA challenges are system-level challenges in that the causes, impacts, and solutions require thinking and acting from a perspective that considers both natural and manmade systems. Think Higher gas and grocery prices, inadequate healthcare services, supply chain impact on small businesses, the mass exit of public-school teachers, escalating gun violence, etc...
The first step to take in the face of a VUCA challenge is the management of anxiety both for yourself and those who rely on you for guidance and support.
In the face of the inevitable anxiety that accompanies a VUCA challenge, here are three important ideas:
- Observe whether your default tendency is toward too much distance or too much closeness when under stress. With this self-awareness, adjust so that you stay connected in ways that lower the anxiety within yourself and others.
- Keep in mind that you are only able to exert positive influence on a system to which you stay connected. Keep in touch with those around you both allies and enemies.
- Continually work to maintain a healthy balance between being close enough to influence yet distant enough to lead. Envision being on a seesaw as you continually adjust your position to remain in a healthy close-distant balance.