VUCA

The chaotic "new normal"

We are constantly reminded just how fast-paced life is… and that the rapidity of life and change will only increase. Additionally, that chaos is the “new normal.” Does a simple framework to recognize the nature of the conditions that we operate in exist? Can it help us better cope with, or even thrive in, these conditions. Well, the one that I use is “VUCA”.

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.” 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.

Instead of trying to identify anticipated PROBLEMS in the environment or situation you are operating in, or renaming them as CHALLENGES, I ask that you consider using the VUCA acronym as a way to better understand the nature of the CONDITIONS.

     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.

The particular meaning and relevance of VUCA often relates to how people view the conditions under which they make decisions, plan forward, manage risks, foster change and solve problems.

Bottom line… VUCA is a great way to analyze the conditions that you will be operating in, in any situation. Try it.

DISCUSSION QUESTION:  Do you use another acronym or rule of thumb to better understand the potential for chaotic conditions in your every day life?

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