Businesses in the recent past have adopted the US Army War Collegeâ€™s concept of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) as a way to describe change and disruptions that have continually impacted businesses, markets and even governments around the world. But the Covid-19 pandemic has changed our collective calculus of a VUCA world. It has turned out to be more global in scope, frightfully impactful on economy and society, and more complex and ambiguous than any other crisis that the modern world has experienced.
VUCA has now indeed become the new normal. So how do we then manage to thrive in this new world order? As many pundits put it, building resilience is one of the best defences against adversity, and critically important in a VUCA world.
What is resilience? Simply put, it is an ability to absorb shocks and bounce back stronger from adversity.
What is resilience in the workplace? Resiliency in an organisation is not a concept limited to bouncing back. According to an industry report, the 4Rs of organisational resilience are betterÂ readiness, moreÂ responsiveness, fasterÂ recoveryÂ and greaterÂ regeneration. Needless to say, it will come from planning and strategy. The more resilient organisation adopts a mind-set of â€˜What if? What next?â€™Â In the new world order, one will need to discuss â€˜future failureâ€™ to drive future preparedness. Not just trend-spotting and identifying future opportunities, one will also need to spot challenges, changes or potential disruptors on the horizon.Â
The three key pillars will always be operational resilience, financial resilience and reputational resilience â€” the more resilient the organisation, the better placed it will be to deal with future uncertainties. â€‹Â Future organisations will be more agile. They will create an organisational mindset and capability to come up with options that enable them to adapt quickly to events and provide better short-term buffers to disruption.
While we all know that we are definitely getting through this pandemic and will come out stronger; but one thing is for sure, VUCA isnâ€™t going anywhere. We will continue to face cycles of disruption and change, may be faster cycles, both internally and externally, both personally and professionally and many a times, many of them will be well beyond our control. VolatilityÂ will need to be managed withÂ vision; uncertaintyÂ addressed by building clear understanding of outcomes and impact thresholds.
By adopting and building personal and organisational resilience, one can become better equipped to face turbulence with a positive outlook, respond and recover quickly and learn to drive value even during turbulent times. Going forward, the ability to manage a VUCA environment and relentlessly keep pursuing our mission will be the difference between success and failure.
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