We live in a VUCA world where the accelerating rate of change creates volatility. A VUCA world means we all experience large amounts of uncertainty, due to this volatility and can feel overwhelmed and confused by what is going in terms of politics, the economy and the environment. The overwhelm is increased by the amount of complexity that we face in just making the most basic of decisions; and with this complexity comes the need to deal with ambiguity where any decision is only right depending on your perspective.
Self Leadership – Driver or Passenger?
In the book Self Leadership which I co-authored with Dr. Anna Kazan, we used the metaphor of driver or passenger to invite the reader to consider in which parts of their life they felt in control. Stress is inversely proportional to control, in other words the less control you perceive you have, the more stress, or VUCA you experience. The key phrase to take away from the previous sentence is ‘perceived control’. Perception is often reality and self-leaders are better at managing their perceptions and thus creating their own reality.
Volatility is much more stressful without Vision. When we are clear who we are and have a vision of who we want to become, we take control of our actions, regardless of what is going on around us. With self leadership, you are less likely to take volatility personally and are therefore much more resilient to change.
Uncertainty is fed by lack of Understanding. It is our responsibility to remain current and continue to learn about the environment we live in. Darwin said that it is not the strongest that survive but the most adaptable to change. By making learning as natural as breathing, we can understand the changing world we live in and make more informed choices.
Complexity is reduced by Clarity. Clarity comes from knowing what’s important and what is not. What is important to us is what we value; being clear about your intentions and your values gives you the clarity to see through complexity to the fundamentals. In a VUCA world spend time reflecting on your intentions and your values to avoid being buffeted by every fad and false prophesy.
Ambiguity is conquered by Authenticity. When we are the author of our own lives, when we choose to write the script, we become authentic. Every situation has a narrative, and with self-leadership you can choose the story-line; for instance, is this a challenge or an opportunity? The authentic are more agile to accept ambiguity as perception and make meaning which will motivate themselves and inspire others.
Your VUCA world for 2014
- Volatility to Vision
- Uncertainty to Understanding
- Complexity to Clarity
- Ambiguity to Authenticity
I am writing this blog on December 31, 2014. The last 2 years have been pretty VUCA for me, I faced a challenge to my business that almost bankrupted me and I faced some devastating personal circumstances. Through this time I have been able to publish a book, create transformation for individuals and companies and to grow personally. I have spent the last few days reflecting about 2014 in terms of Vision, Understanding, Clarity and Authenticity. Many of you have been engaged in the same reflection and I hope you can now be positive on not just surviving, but thriving in a VUCA world.