How to survive and remain profitable as a business in these tough times; the VUCA option

Posted by News Express | 9 May 2016 | 3,684 times

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Many organisations and managers are struggling to stay afloat and aligned in the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous nature of today’s global and local business environment. Turbulence – the rapid rate of change – is swirling around many of us, tipping us this way and that, as we attempt to navigate a safe passage through it all.

VUCA as a subject has been a theme of interest to leaders, managers and researchers in behavioural and thought management in these times of rapid and dynamic changes in the global and local business environment, providing knowledge and leads to practical questions and possible answers and divergent solutions. Especially as it relates to the business, sociopolitical and economic environment of Nigeria; with all that is going on here, it will take a deep insight in practical knowledge in solutions provision in ever changing and unpredictable conditions and environment to survive and remain profitable as a business, and to remain resourceful and relevant in any organisation. This is why intensive, participatory and interactive entrepreneurship, financial and wealth creation business training programmes are advocated and you will do well to avail yourself of such.

The VUCA World:

V = Volatility – The nature, speed, volume, magnitude, and dynamics of change; MEGA SITAMA – The nature and dynamics of change, and the nature and speed of change forces and change catalysts.

U = Uncertainty – The lack of predictability, the prospects for surprise, and the sense of awareness and understanding of issues and events. The lack of predictability of issues and events.

C = Complexity – The multiplex of forces, the confounding of issues, no cause-and-effect chain, and confusion and the chaos that surround an organisation.

A = Ambiguity – The haziness of reality and the mixed meanings of conditions, the potential for misreads, and cause-and-effect confusion.

The deeper meaning of each element of VUCA serves to enhance the strategic significance of VUCA foresight and insight as well as the behaviour of groups and individuals in organisations. It discusses systemic failures and behavioural failures, which are characteristic of organisational failure.

These elements present the context in which organisations view their current and future state. They present boundaries for planning and policy management. They come together in ways that either confound decisions or sharpen the capacity to look ahead, plan ahead and move ahead. VUCA sets the stage for managing and leading.

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. In general, the premises of VUCA tend to shape an organisation’s capacity to:

Anticipate the Issues that Shape Conditions

Understand the Consequences of Issues and Actions

Appreciate the Interdependence of Variables

Prepare for Alternative Realities and Challenges

Interpret and Address Relevant Opportunities

For most contemporary organisations – business, the military, education, government and others – VUCA is a practical code for awareness and readiness. Beyond the simple acronym is a body of knowledge that deals with learning models for VUCA preparedness, anticipation, evolution and intervention.

Failure in itself is not a catastrophe, but failure to learn from failure definitely is. It is not enough to train leaders in core competencies, without identifying the key factors that inhibit their use, the resilience and adaptability that are vital in order to distinguish potential leaders from mediocre managers. Anticipating change as a result of VUCA is an outcome to a resilient Leader. In the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous nature of today's socioeconomic world and the impact it has in businesses, economies, politics and our general life, which has cast spotlight to the capacity of individuals and organisations to deal with VUCA situations, which can be measured with a number of engagement themes:

Knowledge Management and Sense-Making, Planning and Readiness Considerations, Process Management and Resource Systems, Functional Responsiveness and Impact Models, Recovery Systems and Forward Practices, Systemic failures and Behavioural failures.

At some level, the capacity for VUCA management and leadership hinges on enterprise value systems, assumptions and natural goals. A “prepared and resolved” enterprise is engaged with a strategic agenda that is aware of and empowered by VUCA forces.

The capacity for VUCA leadership in strategic and operating terms depends on a well-developed mindset for gauging the technical, social, political, market and economic realities of the environment in which people work. Working with deeper smarts about the elements of VUCA may be a driver for survival and sustainability in an otherwise complicated world.

It is said that Psychometrics, which measure fluid intelligence by tracking information processing when faced with unfamiliar, dynamic and vague data, can predict cognitive performance in VUCA environments, just like Antifragile, which are Things That Gain from Disorder Cognitive Process Profile (CPP)

In executive business education, watching how companies and employees cope with the dynamism that defines the VUCA world over the last few years is paramount to this study.

We will continue with this business story and training material next week, embellishing the discourse with case studies. Please keep a date.

•Lawrence Nwaodu is a small business expert and enterprise consultant, trained in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, with an MBA in Entrepreneurship from The Management School, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, and MSc in Finance and Financial Management Services from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Netherlands. Mr. Nwaodu is the Lead Consultant at IDEAS Exchange Consulting, Lagos. He can be reached via (07066375847).

Source: News Express

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