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Leadership Competencies for VUCA World
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Leadership Competencies for VUCA World


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My talk on Leadership Competencies for VUCA World at "Adapting Project Mananagement Competencies"

My talk on Leadership Competencies for VUCA World at "Adapting Project Mananagement Competencies"

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  • 1. Leadership Competencies for a VUCA World Tathagat Varma VP, Strategic Process Innovations [24]7 Innovation Labs
  • 2. Do you want to be in movies? Good! Let’s go…
  • 3. How about? OK, how about all four?
  • 4. Volatility The nature and dynamics of change, and the nature and speed of change forces and change catalysts.
  • 5. Volatility – Leadership Challenges The pace of change is faster and more rapid than our ability to respond The increased pace of change requires accelerated decision making Change are large scale and occur suddenly and usually require an urgent response. Leaders are left feel overwhelmed, stress, anxious and unprepared to lead effectively The challenge for leaders is to learn to respond and manage change more effectively. To shift from reacting to change and move towards a more proactive response to change Command and control structures fail in fast changing and disruptive environments. h"p://­‐leading-­‐in-­‐turbulent-­‐8mes/    
  • 6. Uncertainty The lack of predictability, the prospects for surprise, and the sense of awareness and understanding of issues and events.
  • 7. Uncertainty – Leadership Challenges It’s difficult to get a handle on what’s actually happening Leaders are required to act on incomplete or insufficient information Leaders are are more likely to rely on what seemed to have worked in the past Too much information noise, not enough signal Difficulty in “connecting the dots” to understand the outcomes of an event h"p://­‐leading-­‐in-­‐turbulent-­‐8mes/    
  • 8. Complexity The multiplex of forces, the confounding of issues and the chaos and confusion that surround an organization.
  • 9. Complexity – Leadership Challenges Difficulty in acting and drive the change required to address the web of interrelated issues and concerns Increased complexity makes it difficult to know where to start to drive change Temptation to act on and implement short-term solutions and over rely on quick wins Leaders lack the time to reflect and think through the complexities and end up acting too quickly Mitigating actions do not address the root cause only the symptoms The danger of getting stuck in analysis paralysis and end up acting too late h"p://­‐leading-­‐in-­‐turbulent-­‐8mes/    
  • 10. Ambiguity The haziness of reality, the potential for misreads, and the mixed meanings of conditions; cause-and-effect confusion.
  • 11. Ambiguity – Leadership Challenges Failure to understand the significance of an event High risk of miss-interpreting events and responding inappropriately of in ineffective ways Leaders are too far removed from the source and context of the events Leaders act based on a limited understanding of events and their meaning h"p://­‐leading-­‐in-­‐turbulent-­‐8mes/    
  • 12. So, what’s this VUCA thingy? •  US Military started using this term in late 90s for the post-Cold War world •  “relates to how people view the conditions under which they make decisions, plan forward, manage risks, foster change and solve problems.” •  Reflects a fast-paced, increasingly unstable and rapidly changing world •  …The New Normal!
  • 13. How does it impact? Vola8lity   Causes  fear,   risk-­‐aversion   and  ‘back-­‐to-­‐ basics’   reac8ons   Uncertainty   Complexity   Causes   paralysis   through  a   tendency  to   invest   excessive  –   and  fu8le  –   efforts  on   data  analysis   h"p://     Causes  a   desire  to   look  for   scapegoats   or  black  and   white   solu8ons   that  are   usually   erroneous   Ambiguity   Induces   doubt,   distrust  and   hesitancy,   and  impedes   decision-­‐ making  and   change  
  • 14. The antidote – VUCA Prime Leaders  Make  The  Future  –  Bob  Johansen  
  • 15. Leadership Lessons from US Military Vola8lity   •  Translate  data   into   informa8on   •  Communicate   early   •  Ensure  your   intent  is   understood   Uncertainty   •  Get  a  fresh   perspec8ve   •  Be  flexible   •  Glance  back,   look  ahead   h"p://­‐collec8ons/spotlights/2010/november     Complexity   •  Develop   collabora8ve   leaders   •  Stop  seeking   permanent   solu8ons   •  Train   tomorrow’s   heroes  now   Ambiguity   •  Listen  well   •  Think   Divergently   •  Setup   incremental   dividends  
  • 16. Success factors from Industry Capitalize  on   complexity   An8cipate  risks  but   don’t  invest  too   much  8me  in  long-­‐ term  strategic  plans   Think  big  picture   Be  curious   Encourage   networks  rather   than  hierarchies   Leverage  Diversity   Employee   engagement   Retain  a  clear  vision   Provide  clear   direc8on  and   consistent   messaging   Get  used  to  being   uncomfortable!   h"p://­‐vuca-­‐world    
  • 17. “…Having spent forty years forecasting, I believe that the future world will be more volatile, more uncertain, more complex, and more ambiguous, or so it will seem if you are in a seat of leadership.”
  • 18. Ten Leadership Skills Maker  Ins8nct   Construc8ve   Depolarizing Clarity     Quiet   Transparency   Dilemma  Flipping     Rapid  Prototyping   Immersive   Learning  Ability   Smart  mob   organizing   Bio-­‐empathy   Commons   Crea8ng      
  • 19. Recap The  new  normal… and  only  gets  be"er!   Needs  different  set   of  leadership  skills   Key  is  to  have  Vision,   Understanding,   Clarity  and  Agility   Pic:  h"p://­‐vuca-­‐%E2%88%9E-­‐vuca-­‐prime/    
  • 20. References •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  VUCA -,_uncertainty,_complexity_and_ambiguity Understanding the VUCA World with Bob Johansen and David Small Living in a VUCA World - Living in the VUCA World with Prof. Paul Kinsinger - Leadership in a VUCA World with Marish Manwani and Leading change in the VUCA world - Leading in a VUCA Environment -,,, Developing Leaders in a VUC Environment Winning a SuperVUCA World -