Have you ever heard of the acronym VUKA (also VUCA)? It is composed of the first letters of the terms volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Currently, we are all experiencing firsthand what VUKA means in everyday life. The challenge is particularly great for managers, who for weeks have had to steer their employees through a world that is more fast-paced and unpredictable than ever. The ‘normal’ working day has changed fundamentally for ‘almost’ everyone.
What does VUKA mean?
VUKA or VUKA world – these terms are not new. Labour market experts have been discussing them for years. The idea behind this is that in an increasingly globalised, networked and digital world, the same parameters no longer apply as in the analogue age. Change is permanent and new leadership skills are required.
From The following Reasons:
- The speed in the markets is increasing and changes are on the rise – one innovation follows the other. Technologies, ways of working, habits are being displaced by new ones faster than ever. This is what the word volatility stands for.
- As a result, dynamics can hardly be traced any more, as often erratic developments arise. That’s what the word uncertainty stands for.
- Our world is also becoming more complicated bit by bit as a result of ongoing globalisation and digitalisation. This is what the word complexity stands for.
- And: Business-critical parameters can change from one moment to the next. In many cases, these are even contradictory. This is what the word ambiguity stands for.
We are currently experiencing VUKA in its purest form
Since COVID-19 came into our world, we experience VUKA in pure culture. No one knows, for example, how long the pandemic will keep us busy and what economic impact it will have. The economic and political situation is hardly predictable anymore. Both economists and politicians are only driving by sight and can no longer make long-term decisions.
A situation that is stressful and challenging for all of us. But especially for leaders and executives. After all, the business success of their organization depends to a large extent on their decisions and leadership. This makes it all the more necessary to acquire new knowledge in order to stay fit and adapt to new conditions.
What competencies do leaders need in a VUKA world?
To survive in the VUKA world, they need very specific skills:
- They must not allow themselves to be thrown off course by short-term changes, but must see them as an exciting challenge that they want to counter. Keyword: Ambiguity tolerance
- They need the competence to recognize the opportunities that always lie in a crisis or an unforeseen turnaround and to derive sustainable decisions from them. Keyword: enabling competence and entrepreneurial competence.
- Keyword: relinquishing power. Modern leaders usually preside over a team made up of specialists. In order to be able to make competent decisions, they must learn to seek the opinion of experts and to derive sustainable strategies from this. This requires a high degree of trust.
- Last but not least: agility. Leaders must accept that projects cannot always be thought through to the end in the current climate. Instead, they sometimes have to be adjusted in the middle of the process because the situation has already changed again. This means that a certain “experimental status” is entering the world of work. Companies can only react to this with agile working methods.
Pandemic provides foretaste of VUKA world
One thing is certain: the current situation offers at most a foretaste of what will be part of everyday life in the working world of the future. It doesn’t always have to be a pandemic that makes our daily lives volatile, ambivalent, uncertain and complicated. Triggers can also be political unrest, the attack on digital infrastructures, strikes or outages in retail chains.
This makes it all the more important that managers are well positioned for the future. To do this, they must train in the key skills needed for a VUKA world. So far, so good. However, many executives currently work largely from home offices. Because social distancing is and remains the order of the day. How then are they to acquire the skills they desperately need?
How can leaders educate themselves now?
The Swiss Connect Academy has developed the comprehensive training course on the topic of Leadership in a digital world developed. Thanks to e-learning, learning can take place individually, independent of time and place.
The four-week training plan covers the following topics:
- Digitalisation, working in the VUKA world, key competences in the VUKA world
- Agile manifesto, agile mindset, agile values, agile principles, self-organized work and collaboration
- Understanding of leadership in transition, agile leadership mindset, agile leadership values and agile leadership principles
- Lean Thinking, Scrum, Design Thinking; Kanban
Learning in the community
A wide variety of media are available as teaching aids for the maximum of 15 participants, so that each learner can access what best suits his or her own learning style. Some people learn better through visual stimuli and go straight to the instructional video. Others absorb content better auditorily. For them, the podcasts integrated into the learning platform are the perfect format. Still others find the PowerPoint presentations with commentary exciting and, and, and. Very simple!