This is the second of 4 blogs where we will unpack the term VUCA in the South African context.
As you may know the term VUCA refers to Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity.
It is by now well recognized that leaders in 2018 need to be VUCA ready, but what does the term uncertainty mean in the workplace?
What is it that we need to get ready for?
Firstly let’s understand the dictionary definition:
Uncertainty (noun) - the state of being uncertain, synonyms: unsureness, riskiness, unpredictable
If thus we need to prepare for uncertainty it will mean that:
Leaders are able to be more assertive to define their minimum requirements
Leaders are able to influence others and willing to be influenced
Leaders are open to collaboration and negotiation
to thrash out best case scenarios.
There is always scope for change
in any project.
The risk aspect
of every approach is well managed
There are limited
one size fits all approaches.
What are some of the most recent and current factors that give rise to uncertainty
in the broader South African context?
The current Western Cape drought
and pending expanded water shortage.
The current state of public transport
The Steinhoff saga
The economic downgrade
All of the above influence our economy quite radically, translating to suppliers and clients down scaling, changing the way they do things to remain profitable
and thereby influencing what we know for sure.
What are some of the developments that are likely to challenge a leader’s ability to adapt to the required challenges of uncertainty
The rise of millennials to management
Government and Corporate entities that are slow to adapt
to market related pace.
The rising cost of doing business
(including basic service delivery cost, infrastructure cost and cost of compliance).
The success ofgender awareness
South Africa’s large divide in socio-economic status
In nearly all of the above, it becomes apparent that especially in times of uncertainty, it is essential that we are able to remain ethical, that we do the right thing
even when no-one is watching.
It becomes imperative to have an ethical culture and a safe space for risk taking
as the decision making needs to take advantage of every window of opportunity at the right time.
Stepping in to manage conflict, stepping up to change, adjusting to demands
. Too many organisations are trying to centralize decision making, giving their supervisory tiers all the responsibility but none of the authority with which to do their job.
What are some of the solutions
we could be implementing quickly and without too much additional cost?
programs (fore warned is fore armed).
Employee ethics and information
Employee diversity awareness
A culture of great internal communication
KISS programs - allowing for clearance of unnecessary paperwork
(keep it simple).
Better company meeting strategies
to gain more collaborative input.
A culture where questioning and learning is encouraged and rewarded
We cannot stress enough how important it is for us to prepare our workforce adequately for great, inclusive and collaborative decision making
in a climate of uncertainty as without the input from an engaged and creative team
we will not be adjusting our processes quickly enough allowing for quick change when uncertain outcomes strike.
“Leadership is a way of thinking, a way of acting and, most importantly, a way of communicating
.” - Simon Sinek.
© Debbie Engelbrecht
Debbie Engelbrecht is the MD of Staff Training, established in 2001. She is a soft skills facilitator and management coach and strives to enthuse, assist and empower her fellow South Africans wherever she has the skill to do so.