If we accept that chaos is the “new normal” and that “VUCA” (Volatility–Uncertainty–Complexity–Ambiguity) is a reasonable framework to recognize the nature of the conditions that we operate in, then that begs a question: “How can we best operate in this VUCA environment?” I believe that EMBRACE THE WOBBLE™ will unfold as an extraordinary solution to a stable and balanced life.
Common usage of the term VUCA began in the 1990s in military strategic planning and has been subsequently used in a wide range of situations. VUCA is an acronym used to describe or reflect on the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of general conditions in the world… the chaotic “new normal.” The acronym stands for:
- V = Volatility. The nature, speed, volume, and magnitude of change.
- U = Uncertainty. The lack of predictability and the prospects for surprise.
- C = Complexity. The confounding of issues and the chaos and confusion that surround any environment.
- A = Ambiguity. The “fog of war”, haziness of reality, the potential for misreads, and the mixed meanings of conditions.
￼I’ve already shared one way to counter the VUCA environment… VUCA PRIME (first introduced by Bob Johansen, a distinguished fellow at the Institute for the Future). It’s a method to counter each of the elements of VUCA with a counterpart. I just don’t find the four counterpart methods, matching the the acronym VUCA to be complete enough. VUCA PRIME substitutes VISION–UNDERSTANDING–CLARITY–AGILITY over Volatile–Uncertain–Complex–Ambiguous. I’m really interested in your thoughts on whether VUCA PRIME adequately provides a solution to mitigate the conditions of VUCA.
- VISION over Volatility: Begin with the end in mind (Stephen Covey’s HABIT #2). View today from the perspective of the desired future and have a clear intent.
- UNDERSTANDING over Uncertainty: Seek first to understand, then be understood (Stephen Covey’s HABIT #5). The deliberate ability to “stop, look, and listen.”
- CLARITY over Complexity: It’s about thorough and rapid problem solving and decision making.
- AGILITY over Ambiguity: Try hard, fail fast, and learn. Maximize the Power of the Network in every way possible.
EMBRACE THE WOBBLE™
I’d like to introduce EMBRACE THE WOBBLE™ as my solution to “How can we best operate in this VUCA environment?” EMBRACE THE WOBBLE™ is a phrase that encompasses several key components to help you on your path to LEAD FROM YOUR CURRENT POSITION®.
- STABILITY over Volatility: the process of understanding and mastering the attainment of INDIVIDUAL STABILITY, STABLE PARTNERSHIP, to STABLE COMMUNITY (where true SERVICE occurs).
- MASTERY over Uncertainty: Take the journey to mastery and avoid being seduced by the siren song of a consumerist, materialistic, quick-fix society that only brings the illusion of accomplishment and the shadow of achievement.
- SIMPLICITY over Complexity: The KISS Principle (Keep It Simple Stupid).
- CLARITY over Ambiguity: Clarity is freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity.
LEAD FROM YOUR CURRENT POSITION®
The three key phases of LEAD FROM YOUR CURRENT POSITION® are:
- Self-Development: Individual Stability; Mastery; Be-Know-Do; Be-Do-Have; Virtues Over Values; and Flow.
- Partnership: Stable Partnership; Collaboration; Power of the Network; Flow.
- Service: Stable Community; Counterpart Leadership™.
Simply put, I believe INDIVIDUAL STABILITY is the most fundamental and essential requirement in life. Other people can tell you about it, demonstrate it, and even try to teach you with tips, tricks, and short-cuts. But I believe it’s an inside-out process that’s best attained through Self-Development (the first phase of LEAD FROM YOUR CURRENT POSITION®).
In order to be highly effective… in fact, EXTRAORDINARY, we must seek to master INDIVIDUAL STABILITY. Yes, it’s a lifelong journey. But, like learning to fly a helicopter, your first major task is to HOVER… to firmly establish yourself on the path to master INDIVIDUAL (aircraft) STABILITY.
One of the first magical things that occurs when you find that “hover button” as a helicopter pilot is that you, in essence, “EMBRACE THE WOBBLE™”. I say “in essence” because I didn’t develop the phrase or fully understand why we must EMBRACE THE WOBBLE™ until many years later (through flying and life lessons). In fact, we all lost and refound the hover button repeatedly for a brief period… and then, like riding a bike, balance and stability just seemed to happen. And like most things in life, the more we try to force it to happen the more difficult it is to achieve.
Again, like flying a helicopter, flying formation is very difficult (impossible) without INDIVIDUAL STABILITY. But we don’t wait until we achieve perfection in individual flight before we move on to formation flight. We must attain a certain degree of proficiency (while still pursuing mastery in individual flight) before we take on formation flight. So it is in life with PARTNERSHIP. We must also attain a certain degree of proficiency (while still pursuing mastery in INDIVIDUAL STABILITY) before we take on PARTNERSHIP.
And then the process repeats itself as we move from formation flight to operational flight (numerous formations and types of aircraft operating in the same battlespace). So it is in life with moving from STABLE PARTNERSHIP to STABLE COMMUNITY. This is the essence of LEAD FROM YOUR CURRENT POSITION®… the process of understanding and mastering the attainment of INDIVIDUAL STABILITY, STABLE PARTNERSHIP, to STABLE COMMUNITY (where true SERVICE occurs).
EVERYONE HAS THE POWER TO ACHIEVE GREATNESS
You see, I believe that everyone has the power to achieve greatness and that the world is calling out for our genius. Each of us… no one left out!
But life doesn’t always provide straightforward choices and the path to success isn’t always clear. This is why I stress the VUCA environment. Amidst the paradoxes and hypocrisy of life, we experience challenges that consistently test our will and our determination. That is until we realize that they aren’t really challenges, but simply the “conditions” of life.
Perhaps you’re feeling that there must be a better way.
I NEED YOUR ASSISTANCE
As the founder of LEAD FROM YOUR CURRENT POSITION®, I’m seeking to foster innovative and agile thinking through purposeful leadership – leadership that energizes and mobilizes individuals “to contribute to environments where others flourish” (my definition of LEADERSHIP). And I need your assistance and participation if we are to make progress in this inquiry on what it really means to LEAD FROM YOUR CURRENT POSITION®.
I’m passionate about helping individuals, groups, and communities refine the skill sets necessary to developing an extraordinary leadership culture.
I also invite you to explore and participate in my site to see how we can assist each other connect the dots in achieving success.
DISCUSSION QUESTION: What are your thoughts about EMBRACE THE WOBBLE™ (STABILITY—MASTERY—SIMPLICITY—CLARITY) as my solution to “How can we best operate in this VUCA environment?”
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