Drawing by Chris Morgan View image
We are living in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous (VUCA) world, and it’s easy to feel like we can’t possibly shift the balance of power. This feeling does destabilise and make us feel anxious. It can sap motivation, increase the chances of making bad decisions, or paralyse decision-making processes. What can we do about that?
Over dinner, my friend said to me “I feel the balance of power isn’t in my favour”. We were talking specifically about water leaks we have had in our homes, and the agony of getting them resolved. Our experience of getting work done in our homes recently highlighted the power that the building contractors have, and how we felt powerless to respond with any justified criticism because we feared that they would refuse to finish the job, leaving us with a bigger problem.
As the conversation spread to others sat round the table, we had all shared the same experience, and that feeling of power imbalance wasn’t just with building contractors, it was with our financial decisions, our work, politicians, the media, and climate change.
We are living in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous (VUCA) world, and it’s easy to feel like we can’t possibly shift the balance of power. This feeling does destabilise and make us feel anxious. It can sap motivation, increase the chances of making bad decisions, or paralyse decision-making processes. It can take huge amounts of time and effort to fight and can feel overwhelming.
How many times recently have we been given covid, the war in Ukraine, and the financial crisis as reasons for something not going the way we expected?
It’s common for the VUCA world to be used as an excuse for sloppy work, lack of action and the pressure put on us to accept situations that intuitively we know aren’t right.
What do we do about that?
1. Accept and embrace change by changing your mindset. Accept that things are going to be uncertain, remain flexible and be ready to act quickly when you need to.
2. Understand that collaboration, participation, debate, and even dissent may be more important than obedience. See the positivity in this. It can lead to fast decision making, seizing opportunities when they arise, rather than feeling the pressure of being forced to decide.
3. In a VUCA world, better deals and opportunities can be fleeting, so you have to stay alert to be able to grab them when they surface. Be clear about what you want and communicate that clearly, it helps everyone around you.
4. Adversity and challenge can be unsettling, but it can also focus our attention and encourage us to be clear about what we want. View uncertainty as a driver for delving deeper before making decisions, rather than being overwhelmed and being forced into bad decision making. We always have options and choices; we have to make sure we have done the evaluation (pros and cons).
5. In a world that's affected by VUCA, we have a choice. Either we allow VUCA to manage, overload and overwhelm us, or we accept and manage it, so that we can mitigate its effects. When we decide to accept VUCA, we choose to make ourselves less vulnerable, and we empower everyone to deal with uncontrollable, unpredictable forces.
It’s important that we take time to reflect on the balance of power. Understanding how much power we have and being aware of when we are exercising it. When you feel the imbalance, ask the question “am I complicit in allowing the imbalance?” and don’t be afraid to face the answer and do something about it.
Nina changes the tough stuff necessary to keep leaders’ visions and strategies alive and prosperous, planet and people engaged, healthy, smiling and having fun. Coach, Consultant & Trainer. Contact her when you are ready to make your contribution to changing the world at ninadar.com the first session is free.