There was a time when everyone talked about VUCA as if it was this secret code whereas it was just trying to describe the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous situation we were living in. That was well before the pandemic, but that analysis is even more relevant now!

Some people like stability, certainty, simplicity and logic. I value clarity of purpose and find that the simplest of messages are often the most effective at mobilising people around an issue. However, I also like the unpicking of complex issues and navigating ambiguity, not just because issues like poverty or the climate crisis don’t have simple solutions, but that it also creates opportunities to create more collaborative solutions and to adjust them to change. Where certainty and clarity is important is the value you and your organisation need — the social contract to create the psychological safety to help you thrive.

To do this:

V: Create a vision to give people clarity of direction as they navigate volatile situations

U: Understand people’s motivations and needs to help feel in control of shaping change

C: Collaborate to help you tackle complex issues through solutions that need to be delivered through different teams or organisations

A: Work in an agile way to be able to adjust to change and apply learning you’ve experiencing

My coach would add another definition of VUCA:

V: Show vulnerability to enable people to open up how they’re feeling

U: Be unrelenting in practising what you preach

C: Be courageous to come out of your comfort zone

A: Be assertive to stand up for what you believe in and create space for others

Share and ask what feels most ambiguous to people and what could create more clarity.




Head of Policy Design, Scrutiny & Partnerships @newhamlondon #localgov Co-founder of #systemschange & #servicedesign progs. inspired by @cescaalbanese

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Head of Policy Design, Scrutiny & Partnerships @newhamlondon #localgov Co-founder of #systemschange & #servicedesign progs. inspired by @cescaalbanese

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