Navigating change for success

Carol Mase,
Abstract Business is facing new challenges following the reset economy of 2007-2009. These have been captured by the term VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous – by the US defense department and the terminology has permeated the business world. While much about this new world is unclear, what is clear is that “Business As Usual” is over. In this new world companies and industries must cultivate and tap into the vast human intelligence they contain. Regardless of their job description, workers are no longer a set of hands, but rather, a deep and often untapped pool of corporate knowledge. A recent study of hospital janitors has demonstrated that their active adaptation of their “job description” was critical to the success of the hospital as a whole. This session alerts participants to ways they can transform the VUCA world in which they work.
From the executive perspective, this transformation is necessary to overcome the vicious cycle of employee disengagement that occurs when unrelenting change, confusion, loss of control, and lack of purpose typify the organizational culture and daily routine. In the VUCA world, which is now not in the future, disengagement is only avoided by leaders who actively foster a positive workplace, encourage participation, and join in collective conversation. According to the Institute For The Future, the VUCA world is transformed when Volatility becomes Vision, Uncertainty becomes Understanding, Complexity becomes Clarity, and Ambiguity becomes Agility. Lasting Leadership has found that this movement is encouraged by four intentional choices that employees can make when confronted with a VUCA situation:

• Reframe rather than React – turning Volatility into Vision
• Be Honest rather than Hopeful – turning Uncertainty into Understanding
• Prepare rather than Predict – turning Complexity into Clarity
• Follow Opportunity rather than Orders – turning Ambiguity into Agility

Keywords: Change, success, Innovation, business paradigm, Leadership, turbulent times, Management
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