What is VUCA?
VUCA is an overused managerial acronym in the business world which actually came from the military. VUCA stands for volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous.
VUCA showcase a world of quick change, unpredictable results, and complex relationships.
It is a nicer way to say the situation is bat crazy. Most of our personal lives and work places are in VUCA, thankfully not in the level of military grade.
Yet we face career insecurity, inflation, rising interest rates, terrorism, global trade wars, natural disasters and irrational markets behaviours, making it impossible to gauge moment to moment with sufficient information. We have to take decisions with out having all information on the table.
So What are our options?
So if our world is in constant VUCA, does that mean we are helpless?.Does it make sense to plan at all?. Planning may not wipe out your helplessness 100%, but it can certainly help you to anticipate things, prepare in advance, and give you the space to respond in a better way.
Where to start VUCA mindset
I would get in to more of what VUCA situations taught me in future posts. But this post is all about how to get what I call, the VUCA mindset. Without building this mindset, no matter how much knowledge you have of your situation, you will be drowned in chaotic emotions and loads of information. So, how to build that mindset?
It needs practice. A lot actually. But small experiences daily, add up to strengthen that VUCA mindset. It’s like clearing your work desk or cleaning files on your computer desktop. Building a new mindset needs new space that is devoid of old habits.
Recently I went on a pilgrimage to India with my family to visit the places where Buddha was born, enlightened, gave his first sermon and eventually passed away. It involved 6 days of rigorous traveling for over 1200 kilometres in a big bus. If there’s a good place you can experience VUCA, Indian roads comes at the top of the list. Vehicles driven at crazy speeds slide all over the place. Roads and bridges are in constant state of construction. Traffic is terrific. Brown dust whirl pools circling roads and beyond. Heat and humidity suck the last ounce of human energy. We had Air conditioning, but the driver’s cubicle had no AC.
One day I was right behind the driver’s seat. Traffic got on to my nerves by just watching the road. I wondered, what would it be like to our beloved driver, who on some days drove more than 300 kilometres. He was the calmest person I’ve ever met in my life. He did not react, let alone bat an eyelid in stressful traffic. He did not get tired in difficult terrain. Nothing.
He showed me the most important lesson in VUCA: the absolute compulsory need of a calm mindset. Every time I am in chaos, now I visualise him driving those long winding roads in Uttar Pradesh, like below, which I hyper-lapsed five minutes of his driving.