VUCA for Decision Making

Organizations use a myriad of tools to help them develop a strategy based on sound analytical assessment. SWOTT, PESTLE, GAP Analysis, Mindmaps, or Five Forces Analysis, each provide an avenue to assess factors that can help address strategy or design risk analysis. VUCA is another way to analyze the environment and help with issue management through a different lens. Originating in the US Army War College, VUCA can help organizations understand a situation and help predict results from actions taken.

Decision Graphic - Kathy Gamboa Article

The VUCA analysis identifies, plans and responds to those situations that are Volatile (V), Uncertain (U), Complex (C), and Ambiguous (A).

Volatile: Unexpected, accelerating, or unstable challenge with an unknown duration of time. For example, a natural disaster disrupts the internet connectivity of an area.

Uncertain: Cause of challenge known but lacking other information and predictability. For example, connectivity repair of the internet dependent on replacement equipment and adequate supply from vendors.

Complex: Cause-and-effect; Situation has different variables and interconnected parts. For example, parts from vendors are coming from different areas of the globe subject to various regulatory and tariff implications affecting supply flow.

Ambiguous: Lacking precedent, unclear relationships, facing unknown unknowns, easily misinterpreted. For example, supply is not adequate from approved vendors, and you must go outside and find new suppliers of products.

How do I use VUCA for decision making?

VUCA provides a way to be strategically agile. Today’s environment requires businesses to be nimble, change quickly, and re-organize human capital, all while continuing to impact organizational goals. VUCA provides structure to teams working across geographic and organizational barriers; it enables a culture to take a calculated risk by sharing information, talent, and knowledge. It drives focus on employee commitment, which is shared by all generations in the workforce. VUCA supports a high level of collaboration between stakeholders (suppliers, partners, customers, employees) and makes it part of organizational culture. In a VUCA environment, agility is critical to remain flexible, fast, and focused.

 What can you do as a leader?

We live in an unpredictable world where everyday events can impact how we do business. VUCA allows for a new way of looking at problems. The VUCA analysis enables organizations to develop higher levels of autonomy from the top-down, establish a sense of urgency through a prioritization system and feedback loop, and simplification of decision making.

Decision - Doors - Kathy Gamboa Article

What is essential with the VUCA model is to build culture, incorporate company values, build a learning organization, and empower your team. Culture must have a foundation of trust, allowing your team to make choices, own decisions, and outcomes. Company values must be shared, communicated, and permeate the entire organization. VUCA promotes a learning culture, and the organization must invest in its people to continue learning. This learning culture will help increase employee satisfaction and builds succession planning within teams. Finally, teams should feel empowered to act and know they have the confidence, knowledge, and trust of leadership to make decisions.

Article Written by: Kathy Gamboa, Multi-Generational Expert & Leader

Republished with permission.


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