The NEW NORMAL is VUCA — Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous. Navigating the knowledge you need to succeed is a critical leadership skill.
A Perfect Storm
In October 1991, there was a perfect storm in the north Atlantic. A buoy off the coast of Nova Scotia reported a wave height of over 100 feet, the highest ever recorded in the province’s offshore waters. In the middle of the storm, a fishing boat, the Andrea Gail, sank, killing her crew of six. This tragedy inspired the book, The Perfect Storm, which later became a movie.
What caused this biological disaster? It was warm air generated by a low-pressure system colliding with cool, dry air generated by a high-pressure system, compounded by tropical moisture delivered by a hurricane.
New Normal: A World of VUCA
Today, a different kind of perfect storm has arrived for leadership — a world of VUCA.
Volatility: Because change happens simultaneously in different sectors, in different forms, and at different rates, conditions are far from stable. They are fluid and fluctuate to extremes.
Uncertainty: Analyzing past data and current trends to forecast future events is problematic. It’s unwise to rely on any one individual’s forecasting abilities, no matter their credentials.
Complexity: Our current reality has many varied parts, patterns, and elements. The complexity is compounding for many reasons, such as accelerating social change, the technology tsunami, and political paralysis.
Ambiguity: Situations are often open to more than one interpretation. Discernment is difficult when facts are fuzzy. Because everything is more interconnected than ever before, there is often cause-and-effect confusion.
Like the ‘perfect storm’ of 1991, the New Normal of VUCA is driven by a colossal collision of change forces.
Economic Shocks — Dramatic, unexpected events can suddenly upset markets with rapid ripple effects and aftershocks worldwide.
Global Competition — It’s no longer predictable in time, place, or specifics. It’s growing geometrically and decreasing the lifespan of businesses.
Advancing Technology — It’s turbocharging communications, blurring geographic boundaries, and enabling instantaneous mobility of capital.
Disruptive Innovations — They can appear seemingly overnight and endanger a long-successful business or make an entire industry obsolete.
Political Paralysis — Politics have polarized and there are no winners. All sides reach for rhetorical extremes and nothing seems to gets done.
Cyber Threats — Cybercriminals are increasingly aggressive in their stealth strategies. In 2016, ransomware attacks increased by well over 100X.
Climate Change — Extreme weather is one of the many implications of climate change. One major magazine summed up the extreme weather escalation with an article entitled, “Weather Panic – This is the New Normal and We Are Hopelessly Unprepared.”
Terrorism — Violent extremism is on the rise with many channels for propaganda dissemination that exacerbate the psychological impact of any terrorist event.
Information Shelf Life — Information is now like a quickly perishable food. Use it or lose it because its shelf life is extremely short.
Trust, Loyalty, Confidence — These three social emotions are on an ever-deeper downward trajectory with many implications, none good.
Evolving Business Models — While challenging, the New Normal has wide open windows of opportunity for new ways to deliver greater value at lower cost.
New Normal of VUCA: Unprecedented Leadership Challenges
The VUCA realities of the New Normal have spawned unprecedented leadership challenges. Consider these statistics:
- Strategy – 67% of leaders say capabilities don’t fully support their strategy; 52% are not confident in their company’s strategy.
- Execution – Over 80% of organizations fail to execute their strategies effectively; CEOs from 40 countries rate “Execution” as their #1 concern.
- Speed – 90% of senior leaders agree that speed is critical to success, but only 40% say that they are moving fast enough. 50% lower operating profit is the result when organizations are outpaced by their competitors.
- Only 33% of employees are engaged in their job and 51% are looking for a new job.
Three Leadership Imperatives for the New Normal
Working closely with many exceptional leaders, we’ve learned what it takes to thrive in the New Normal. We’ve condensed the critical core into the three GEO Leadership™ imperatives:
- Master GEO Action Mindsets™ ─ Think Strategically, Focus Sharply, Move Quickly. These are the mindsets for delivering faster, smarter strategic leadership for the New Normal.
- Follow GEO Cardinal Rules™ ─ What are your top leadership challenges? If you’re looking for the very best leadership practices to meet them, follow the GEO Cardinal Rules™. They provide a proven path to superior results.
- Develop GEO Thinking Patterns™ ─ In a warp-speed world, the greatest danger is not quickly shifting your perspective when circumstances change. Thriving in the New Normal requires new ways patterns of thinking.
The GEO Knowledge Navigation™ System equips you with the very best methods for implementing these three leadership imperatives. The System is designed to deliver just the right knowledge at just the right time in ways that are easy-to-digest and apply.
Three Questions to Consider
- Are you confident in your current strategy?
- Do you have the capacity to execute effectively?
- Are people aligned and engaged?
If you have questions, let’s connect.
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