VUCA

Cord Oliver Molthan attitude, leadership

Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity

Ambiguity means that there can be several meanings for one circumstance. So, one is not quite sure which interpretation or which value one can or should assign. To be held in the limbo of alternatives for a certain time, I feel as a process that fires the ability to think and through which creative energies are released. Again, and again one goes to the seemingly unresolved topic and finds new paths one can tread. Some of these paths can even be treaded in parallel and – even if they are or seem to be contradictory – can lead to good and very different results. Not everyone likes this approach. Predictability, routine, optimization and clarity are necessary components of daily life. To identify a person with his abilities and his possible use by his title fast and unambiguously is popular. Which executives allow themselves the luxury of recognizing the vague, the abstract disposition as attractive and devote time to it? Who says: “Surprise me” or “I need a fellow thinker” or “I have to discover something undefined again! 

Imagine a sales representative calling a potential customer saying: “We can think well and we are open to new, technical approaches. Shouldn’t we talk about what moves you?“ The probability that on the other side there is enough time to process the dimension of the ambiguous sentence is rare. Mostly the replica comes: “And what exactly do you do? What exactly can you offer us?”

A mechanistic, time-saving way of thinking is celebrated, where spare parts are sought that must fit into an existing system. Where is VUCA in daily conversations? Which manager has enough courage to take the time to let instability, creativity and new impulses into his conversations? Isn’t ambiguity a prerequisite for development? As everywhere, a healthy balance between explicitness and ambiguity makes sense. The individual and business need the security of smooth operations and routine. A sustainable development, however, usually begins with ambiguity and the subsequent necessary change of thought patterns.