VUCA: A New Look at a Leadership and Change Framework

There’s an old saying that the only constant is change. It's hard to argue with that and it's certainly the case in the business world, where change is in the air.

Change is being driven by a variety of catalysts. In a more socially and environmentally conscious world, organizations are shifting to focus more on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) programs and business operations. Digital transformation is also well underway across the broad landscape, as businesses look to continuously deploy technology at scale to improve customer experiences and lower costs. In still other situations, companies are refreshing their brands to create a new look, feel, and experience that better resonates with today’s consumers.

Companies look for the most effective change models.

Regardless of the motivation, all companies are looking for the most effective change management models and strategies.

The ultimate goal is to put together a cohesive and focused leadership effort that blends the power of people, processes, and platforms to deliver lasting change.

Recently, I participated in World Strategy Day, an event sponsored by Cascade, with a discussion focused on change management. Featured speakers came from a cross-section of financial, consumer product, and technology companies and the concerns and approaches identified were largely the same across industries.

Looking at VUCA...

There was one unique discussion point, however, that spiked a great deal of interest: a focus on the VUCA model. A recognized leadership tool and framework to deal with the complexities of change, VUCA is now being refashioned in a whole new way to more effectively deal with change in today's environment.

To provide context, VUCA has long been defined as Volatility, in addressing the rapid and unpredictable nature of change; Uncertainty, in isolating the potential issues and events that may result from change; Complexity, in looking at the intertwined forces and impact of change; and Ambiguity, in experiencing the lack of clarity and misunderstanding that change often creates.

... and Refashioning VUCA as a positive model for change

Now, an updated VUCA looks to do more. It not only addresses the foundational needs embodied in the traditional model but also serves to navigate change more positively and constructively

A new way to look at VUCA is:

Looking ahead...

As 2023 closes and we change into a new year, this new way to look at VUCA is a great way to embrace what's coming in 2024.

It's not only a framework to positively address business changes and related challenges, but also a more effective way to embrace the opportunities those changes present. It's important to realize that if new programs and platforms are being implemented to meet the demands of a changing world, then the models we use for dealing with change have to evolve as well. So, three cheers for a newly defined VUCA and here's to welcoming positive change!

This Insight was prepared by Maria Lilly. Feel free to reach out with any questions or comments.