We work in a volatile, uncertain, changing and ambiguous (VUCA) environment and the old traditional "strategies" need to be thrown out the window when it comes to building a flexible and adaptive workforce. Agile, fast-thinking, adaptive employees with the ability to continually translate data patterns and insights into strategic learning is paramount to gaining a strategic foothold in a competitive marketplace.
While executive coaching is gaining momentum worldwide as a valuable part of the leadership development journey, the field of neuroscience is providing a better understanding of the inner workings of the brain and evidence of the benefits of coaching.
Coaching can be defined as a partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that supports in identifying their goals and taking steps to reach them. The biggest impact of coaching occurs when there is a shift in a person’s thinking (“aha” moments). Shifts in how we perceive the world occur because what we experience changes through the questions that are asked. It is fascinating to see through neuroscience research how these shifts are manifested in the brain.
Our Global Leadership Forecast (GLF) is a truly global study of more than 13,000 business leaders and 1,500 HR executives. The GLF report is a fascinating study of leadership today and focuses on the experiences of leaders all around the world, and the implications. It’s clear that, not only are leaders struggling with new skills such as using analytics, driving innovation, surviving in the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world and managing increasingly diverse teams, they are finding the fundamental requirements of leadership difficult. These include delivering on the specific strategy of their CEOs, leading rather than managing, and effectively interacting with teams.
"This provocative post highlights current business paradoxes challenging leaders: change or remain stable, complexity versus simplicity, growth and sustainability and more."
After seeing evidence of our increasingly VUCA world, one that is growing in its Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous characteristics, this useful list of paradoxes resonates. Does it resonate to your experience?
Leaders must find ways to deal with this complexity and embrace and manage it to achieve simplicity.
Paradox 1: growth versus sustainability
Growth as it is currently defined tends to result in an unquestioned and unchecked consumption of resources. Sustainability considerations are generally considered to put a major strain on growth ambitions.
The way forward is innovation, but another paradox present itself:
Paradox 2: innovating versus operating
Innovation is increasingly about service, process, business model and social innovation.
However, focusing on innovation does not mean ignoring operations. The trick is that what allows operations to thrive can seriously get in the way of innovation and vice versa.
Paradox 3: change versus continuity
If you try to innovate too many things at once you will end up with chaos, if you do not change at all your organisation will decline. What is the right balance?
Paradox 4: collaboration versus competition
Business is inherently competitive yet today, collaboration is common, with most companies having collaborated with their suppliers and their customers. Leading companies are promoting collaboration through crowdsourcing or with competitors.
Paradox 5: complexity versus simplicity
Demands on leaders result in increasing levels of complexity, arising from the number of possible, unpredictable interactions between collaborate, compete; change, remain stable; innovation or operational excellence; growth or sustainability. Leaders must find ways to deal with this complexity and embrace and manage it to achieve simplicity.
Paradox 6: Heart versus mind
Decisions need to be made in the face of incomplete analysis, unpredictable outcomes and changing circumstances. The foundations for analysis and factual arguments differ from emotional and visionary engagement; people who excel at one are not necessarily particularly good at the other and yet both are needed.
Read the full article by Dr Bettina von Stamm here.
In the previous two articles in this series on using evidence to drive change within L&D, I looked at delivering an L&D strategy fit for a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world and how L&D teams can align with the business and at the same time satisfy learners’ needs. In this final instalment, I look at the most effective approaches to learning that will support organisational agility.
Executives have taken to using the military acronym VUCA–Voltility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity–to describe the world in which they operate and to ask that question: In a VUCA world, what’s the point of strategy?
Strategy does still have a purpose, but building one in a VUCA environment requires more nuanced thinking. And treating those four traits as a single idea leads to poorer decision making. Watch and listen as Nathan Bennett provides a framework, first featured in an HBR article, for how you should deal with a world that includes V, and U, and C, and A.
Today’s business landscape is very different from the one we had 10-15 years ago. It’s what is called a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world. In all likelihood, there will be many more changes and uncertainties in the next 10-15 years, leading to another new business landscape.
Why learn agility now? No one will argue that today’s business climate is more dynamic and changeable than ever before. Many have written about the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world within which we must operate. As a result, businesses must become increasingly agile. This demands flexible, highly responsive strategies as well as leaders who are: Expansive, possibility-oriented thinkers, able to recognize patterns, connect dots, and see changing conditions before others do; Collaborative, inclusive, and curious; Able to act quickly, set new direction, make smart but fast decisions, and engage in focused experimentation; and Equally comfortable improvising as necessary and also translating those improvised moves that worked into codified strategies, systems, processes and tools that help the organization continue to evolve. Given this expanded job description, it’s no longer viable for leaders to rely exclusively upon today’s knowledge, skills, approaches, and strategies. In the words of author Marshall Goldsmith, “What got you here won’t get you there.” The ability to learn, develop and grow is today’s only sustainable competitive advantage. Hence the importance of learning agility. Learning agility defined While definitions abound, two in particular paint a vivid picture of what learning agility is and why it’s important.
The world is getting more dynamic and complex, not less, so leaders must learn how to surmount new challenges. There is some good news: Although the leadership challenges in an increasingly VUCA world are significant, they’re not insurmountable for those who are willing to look beyond old thinking and approaches. Here’s some pragmatic guidance to help you craft a strategy:
Margaret Moore, co-founder and co-director of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital/ Harvard Medical School, answers all our burning questions about how to sift through the chaos of the digital age and organize our lives and minds.
Organization, she says, is not just about a cluttered desk. It’s about self-regulation, a skill that is developed by the pre-frontal cortex--the seat of executive function in the brain. The left pre-frontal cortex regulates your attention: it evaluates, judges, makes decisions. Modern life, with its barrage of incoming emails and phone calls and texts, taxes the pre-frontal cortex, inhibiting the brain’s ability to focus. Those who have naturally strong self-regulation can handle the overload—and those who don’t are left feeling guilty and out of control.
But the plasticity of the brain means we can all learn to be better focused and more organized.
Culture trumps leadership and change, which is why multi-polar world (as well as VUCA world, Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambigious in another post) caught my eye.
Managers face major operational challenges in a global environment....
Communications and business processes must take place through virtual structures—teleconferences, e-mails, videoconferencing, electronic workflows...
Companies that are successful in changing globally have programs that are both driven from the center and embedded locally.
...new ways of working must be explicitly detailed and incorporated into management processes and structures, and in the ways work is moved around, checked and handed off (see "A bold new look for global sourcing,” Outlook, September 2007).
From a legal perspective, a crazy quilt of regulatory guidelines must be attended to as well.
....Some countries, for example, have restrictions on where an individual’s supervisor must reside. That can be a deal breaker for a company looking to have a team in one country reporting to a manager in another.
...Companies that are successful in changing globally have programs that are both driven from the center and embedded locally. Companies that still rely only on local efforts or, on the other hand, try to force change only from the center, are being outperformed.
VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) is digital new normal, as complexity and uncertainty increasing, the connection between any single individual organization’s strategy, and their tactical plans and actions can become diluted...
25% of organisations report their leaders are not VUCA-capable. The top 20% of organisations performing well financially are three times more likely to have VUCA-capable leaders than the bottom 20 percent. 15% of organisations rated their future bench strength as strong. One in three organisations are focused on developing their leaders’ ability to foster innovation One in five is emphasising development in global leadership.
The rate of change in the business world today is greater than our ability to respond. In a world that is often described as VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and ambiguous), there are major tectonic shifts that demand a new mindset of leadership. First, let us look at these shifts. In recent
It’s not enough that a Google search by a hiring manager turns up nothing negative in your past. These days, the strength of your digital imprint may be the difference between getting a job interview or a rejection e-mail.
In a modern world where knowledge objects are ubiquitous and openly accessible, the roles of educators and learners must evolve to meet the growing needs of the resulting high-paced, digital society. Connectivism is an emergent, net-enabled learning theory that suggests the most important result of a learning situation is the ability of the learner to make connections between distinct ideas using social capital and the affordances of digital networks.
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