07/03/2017

Volatility – The Speed of Change

Top managers get tired, burnt-out and trapped in the complexity of today’s world – I observe the same thing time and again. Rapid change is happening all around us. We are feeling the full impact of VUCA, with the “V” (Volatility) representing the first of four key areas: For in every sphere of life, we are living with the constant risk of having to abandon familiarity at very short notice. Suddenly, nothing is quite how it used to be, appearances deceiving at every turn in the road, surprises springing out of nowhere. Sound familiar?

Feature: The unexpected
We humans do not really like being taken by surprise – Except perhaps as children, when some positive reward is endearingly hidden behind the surprise, such as a gift on our wish-list we would never have anticipated. Less welcome though, are the surprises that mean change and letting go of something familiar or cherished. And even less popular still: the kinds of changes that occur unforeseeably out of the blue. All of a sudden chaos erupts, triggering feelings of uncertainty, incomprehension and rejection in us.

In business life, volatility typically sparks identical behavioural patterns. However, this is really no use to anyone. Quite the opposite. Those who defy volatility, will find themselves overwhelmed by it, just like their predecessors. In fact, VUCA makes it crystal clear: the only option we have is to go with the flow – Literally, embrace and welcome change.

In human terms that means: being open to everything going on around us.


Turning volatility into vision
If holding a key position in our VUCA world is important to you, then it is equally crucial for you to be VUCA experts. Learn to make sense of chaos – long before others do. Take a holistic approach to business strategy. Shed light on a dark world and enable yourself to see through the chaos to capture the bigger picture. Step outside your comfort zone and you will notice that people around you – who follow your lead – start to see challenges rather than problems. They will enjoy creating new experiences along the way – at least long enough for them to become competent. A lot of ideas start out as something completely different and require real vision to envisage them in an entirely new context. Sound like you? Then why not be a visionary for your staff!

1. Challenge the status quo
In order to be a true visionary, you have to be able to recognise the appeal of ongoing challenges. After all, if you only focus on today’s problems, you will not manage to create VUCA-competent individuals and organisations ready for tomorrow’s world.

2. Coach volatility as vision
Enabling people to try things out for themselves – with encouragement and feedback – is the coaching style you should aim to adopt. By doing so, you succeed in nurturing a team culture, whereby your staff actually enjoy addressing challenges. Remember to make time for this! It will also enable you to gather your own bunch of new experiences too.

3. Always have your vision at the ready
Being a true visionary means surrounding yourself in people who are themselves visionaries. Invest time in your visions of life. You need to “sit” on them and brood, so that you are able to explain what drives you in simple terms. At anytime. Today, there are countless opportunities available for encountering like-minded people. By choosing to attend specific events, you will be able to make new acquaintances and implement this in practice.

There is nothing more depressing than a life full of regret and wasted opportunity. In our VUCA world, you need to be clearer than ever about what you are aiming for in life. So just ask. I am here to help.

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