A Prime Way To Make Sense Of Complexities And Moving Targets.

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In a recent article for Huff Post we posed the question, “How Can You Plan In A Future Of Uncertainty“? It’s a question many leaders are asking as we consider both the current and future landscape of business and work. “Affected by many conflicting yet interdependent factors that demand constant adaptation and speed of response, organizations of all sizes are being required to deal with what are now very complex decision making environments”; with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity at the core (VUCA). Interestingly…

“Only 9 of the original Fortune 50 companies are still on the list today. What were the majority of successful companies, didn’t realize how dramatically the world was changing around them.” —Knight, 2011

 So if we understand the complexities, how can we manage toward them instead of stalling in our tracks? There’s a new acronym at work called VUCA ‘Prime’ which takes the concept above and flips it:

“Volatility is mitigated by “vision,” a clear cut master statement of where an organization is headed. When confronted by volatility, leaders need to communicate clearly and make sure their intent is understood.

Uncertainty yields to “understanding,” the deliberate ability to “stop, look, and listen.” In uncertain situations, leaders need to make sure they get fresh perspectives and remain flexible with regard to solutions. 

Complexity is checkmated by “clarity,” the deliberate effort to make “sense of the chaos.” In complex situations, leaders need to make sure to collaborate with others and stop seeking permanent solutions. To paraphrase an old adage, don’t let “perfect” become the enemy of “good enough.”

Ambiguity is matched by “agility”, the ability of a leader to communicate across people and organizations instantly and to move quickly in applying solutions. When confronted by ambiguity, leaders need to listen well, think divergently, and set up incremental dividends. This is captured in the concept of “wirearchy,” as opposed to “hierarchy” — where social networks that allow you to engage the insights of many trump the brilliance of any one person.” Paul Kinsinger and Karen Walch, Ph.D.

 Image: Todd Quackenbush / The Learning Company

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