VUCA is the New Normal For Talent Leaders

VUCA is the New Normal For Talent Leaders

The word ‘VUCA’ has always been approached with a panicked approach but is it really what it is all about - volatility, uncertainty, and chaos? Or could it also be a powerhouse of opportunities and growth? According to Sarabjeet, it absolutely depends on the approach HR professionals take. Let’s understand why.

The World Economic Forum predicts that in the next two years, 5 million people across 12 developed nations will lose their job as a result of increased automation and robotization. We are already feeling the waves of change and
the social cost of it; when an industry is suddenly inundated with innovation, it can create massive levels of confusion and that confusion can lead to paralysis. This has a significant impact on how people cope with change and we are beginning to see emotional signs of the overload.

A lot has been debated about the volatile and complex trading environment today but it’s only as difficult as we make it for ourselves. If we pay attention as an alternative to collaboration over competition, we could make VUCA a positive thing.

The world is ‘VUCA,’ but hasn’t it always been? This is particularly challenging for those in HR roles as they can usually see the impact of this VUCA world, but are often powerless in enacting change. Every day in the news and my conversations with my peers and leaders, I see evidence of the fundamental changes that organisations are experiencing. I see many leaders trying hard, spending yet more hours covering the ground in a global market place. Learning and talent development specialists are redeveloping leadership charters, adding things like entrepreneurship, modernization and digital mastery as “must-haves” in addition to all the traditional fortes about vision, EQ, decisiveness, and resilience. At the same time, data analytics offers new opportunities. There is a sense that if we can just find smart enough systems, with quick enough data, analyzed by big enough computers and then understood by clever enough people; we will be able to see and control what is happening.

Each of these offers some help in retorting to the challenges faced by organisations but even taken together they do not provide enough of a way forward. We need to shift mentalities about the nature of organisations, of change, learning and leadership. With the hollowing out of organisations, we increasingly need leadership that orchestrates ecosystems, noticing what is happening and using influence and experimentation to generate the environment in which others will continually find the creative responses to the changing world.

The common theme from all of the above is the need to move our mental models from the external fear-based view of the world where we feel that everything is out to get us, to an internally out driven view of the world.

Looking from the inside-out means taking a view that is full of possibility, choice, and purpose as we embrace the systemic shifts to collaboration over the competition that are currently underway. To succeed in a VUCA world, today’s leaders must develop and exhibit effectiveness in four key areas.

These competencies are critical in the pursuit of business growth and profitability:

  1. Anticipating and reacting to the nature and speed of change
  2. Acting decisively without always having a clear direction and certainty
  3. Navigating through complexity, chaos, and confusion
  4. Maintaining effectiveness despite constant surprises and a lack of predictability

As you hand-pick and grow your leadership team, organisations whose front-runners are successful in creating and fostering Vision, Understanding, Clarity, and Agility for their teams will achieve lucrative business results.


Final Thoughts

The new talent management model that I am recommending is based on the assumption that for the foreseeable future, most problems and opportunities will simply not be predictable. The model, however, does take advantage of the fact that the skill and capability of handling completely new unforeseen situations can be developed. My challenge and question to talent management leaders are “What are you doing to ensure that every talent management process and employee can produce optimal results in a VUCA environment? The time is come to put together a design session ardent to making the move toward the new agile talent management model.


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