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You’ve probably heard the acronym VUCA frequently during 2020 to describe the current unpredictable nature of the world.

Going deeper, VUCA is a practical code for awareness and readiness. Beyond the simple acronym is a body of knowledge that deals with learning models for VUCA preparedness, anticipation, evolution and intervention. These can be applied on the individual level or for teams and organizations.

Your action is impacted by your assessment of the situation regarding these four elements.

  • V = Volatility: the nature and dynamics of change, and the nature and speed of change forces.

  • U = Uncertainty: the lack of predictability, the prospects for surprise,

  • C = Complexity: the multiplex of forces, the confounding of issues, no cause-and-effect chain and confusion that surrounds organization.

  • A = Ambiguity: the haziness of reality, the potential for misreads, and cause-and-effect confusion.

These elements present the context in which to view the current and future state. They come together in ways that either confound decisions or sharpen the capacity to look ahead, plan ahead and move ahead. VUCA sets the stage for managing and leading.

The specific meaning and relevance of VUCA often relates to how people view the conditions under which they make decisions, plan ahead, manage risks, foster change and solve problems. In general, the premises of VUCA tend to shape an organization's capacity to:

  1. Anticipate the Issues that Shape

  2. Understand the Consequences of Issues and Actions

  3. Appreciate the Interdependence of Variables

  4. Prepare for Alternative Realities and Challenges

  5. Interpret and Address Relevant Opportunities

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