The daily challenges facing business operations due to COVID-19, changing regulatory and political environments, societal movements and market fluctuations across the globe all contribute to uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity in our clients’ work environments. These factors make it harder for organizations to operate and highlight the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world we’re living in.

Here are three tips we share with business leaders to help them tackle VUCA challenges and achieve their business goals:

  1. Flip VUCA on its head. What if company leaders viewed VUCA as a positive? As author Bob Johansen notes in his book, “The New Leadership Literacies: Thriving in a Future of Extreme Disruption and Distributed Everything,” volatility yields to vision; uncertainty to understanding; complexity to clarity; and ambiguity to agility. We counsel clients to stay focused on their mission and values, leverage their company’s strengths, and be flexible in a rapidly changing social, political and economic environment. By flipping the script on what VUCA means, companies can lead in new ways and see the opportunities that lie within the challenges, rather than letting the fear of the unknown drive their business strategy.
  2. Leverage your talent. This is critical in VUCA times. Assign projects based on employee strengths to drive productivity, engagement and results. Then, to see new ideas and creative approaches emerge, empower team members to make decisions, problem-solve and tackle challenges using the style that feels best to them. Finally, encourage open dialogue in hopes of identifying and tackling smaller issues before they become bigger problems. And, consider surveying employees after times of significant change to understand how they feel about leadership’s response to the challenge, communication strategies, and concerns that may still need to be addressed. Internal communications audits and surveys deliver insights to help business leaders better prepare for their next VUCA challenge.
  3. Engage in regular communication with external stakeholders. Strong leadership communication is key to building the relationships and trust required to succeed in a VUCA world. Leaders need to communicate regularly with target audiences, whether that’s customers, shareholders, or the local communities where they do business, to convey shifts in priorities, what to expect amidst change or how they intend to recover from unforeseen setbacks. These communications should be simple (we live in a world of 7-second attention spans and 140-character tweets!) and repeated through the various channels you know your audiences use to get information.

Today’s business leaders should expect volatility and uncertainty. How they adapt to the changes and challenges is what will set them apart. Linhart PR can help your company navigate through VUCA challenges every step of the way, from executive counsel to engaging employees to effectively communicating processes, updates, changes and results to all stakeholder groups. For support through COVID-19 or another disruptive issue, please contact me at shughes@linhartpr.com.