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Advice Leadership development


21


world VUCA


Leadership in a


Andy Dickson calls for leaders with agility, dynamism and responsiveness to navigate a turbulent modern landscape


Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous, and is an increasingly resonant term in the business world as we try to make sense of the constantly changing challenges brought on by politics, economics, society and the environment. We seem to be shifting from an approach


V


centred on problem solving and planning aimed at reducing uncertainty, to a world where progress is made by actively engaging with uncertainty. This inevitably requires higher levels of leadership agility. We are taking a step away from old lessons in management and taking a leaf out of the military books to understand how to survive and thrive in a VUCA world.


Here are some tips for leading effectively in a VUCA world:


• Always retain a clear vision against which judgements can be made, with agility to fl ex and respond appropriately to rapidly unfolding situations.


UCA is an acronym used by the US military to describe the unpredictable and extreme conditions in Afghanistan and Iraq. It stands for Volatile,


• Provide clear direction and a consistent message against a backdrop of continually shifting priorities, supported by the use of new virtual modes of communication where necessary.


• Anticipate risks but don’t invest too much time in long-term strategic plans. Don’t automatically rely on past solutions. Place increased value on new, temporary solutions instead, in response to such an unpredictable climate.


• Think of the big picture. Make decisions based as much on intuition as analysis.


• Capitalise on complexity. If your talent management strategy is working, then you should be confi dent that you have the right people in the right place. This will enable you to rapidly break down any challenge into bite-size pieces and trust in the specialist expertise and judgement of those around you.


• Be curious. Uncertain times bring opportunities for bold moves. Seize the chance to innovate.


• Encourage networks rather than hierarchies – as we reach new levels of interconnection and interdependency, collaboration yields more than competition.


• Leverage diversity. As our networks of stakeholders increase in complexity and size, be sure to draw on the multiple points of view and experience they offer. Doing so will help you prepare for the unexpected.


• Never lose focus on employee engagement. Provide strategic direction, whilstallowing people the freedom they need to innovate new processes, products and services.


• Get used to being uncomfortable. Resist the temptation to cling on to outdated, inadequate processes and behaviours. Take leaps of faith and enjoy the adventure. n


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Andy Dickson is head of global solutions for Impact International


Learning Magazine


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