We do not solve complex problems by creating more complexity.

VUCA – the other side of the coin

Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity – vuca – another acronym which has crept into our business world, highlighting just how tough it is to be a business leader. There seems to be a trend in which we highlight possible threats and let those possible threats grow and consume most of our thoughts and actions.

I think differently. For instance, VUCA is not a problem, it is a symptom. If you are experiencing it in your firm or company, it is a symptom of inadequate leadership. VUCA is a direct result of lack or direction and guidance, poor communication and the absence of setting and sharing expectations.

A common approach to counteract VUCA is resilience training, a big mistake! Resilience training will only exacerbate the problem, as it addresses the symptoms, not the problem. Poor communication and inadequate leadership create the problem, resilience training only aims to help people deal with the symptoms, and the effectiveness is questionable at best. As an organisation introduces training, they believe they are taking positive action. Quite often the negative action is supported. In this case ”People are more resilient, so they can deal with more uncertainty”. What it really means is that the business is expecting their people to solve a problem which is created by their leaders.

Your leaders’ key role in your firm or company, is to create simplicity and clarity. That is all they need to do. Clear direction and guidance, simple and clear communication and simple actions. We do not solve complex problems by creating more complexity, we solve them by creating simplicity.

I can hear you ask, “what about the outside world, it is full of VUCA?”. True, and you are most likely not going to have a direct impact on it. You can only directly impact your own firm or company. Through creating simplicity and clarity, you help grow a positive and strong culture. Your culture will help you face external change and uncertainty, it will help you see the opportunities among the threats. Your culture is based on simplicity and clarity, that is how they will approach your internal and external matters.

Does this sound appealing? The only way to start is by investing in your leaders to do what they need to do on a daily based: create simplicity and clarity.

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