How to Lead in this new VUCA world

Today, the world feels a bit weird.  I feel like we are a part of a global experiment and we are not coping very well, although we are doing our best.  Many people have written about us living in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world. This has never been more true that right now with the rapid expansion of the Coronavirus across the planet. At this time we need great leadership. But what kind of leadership is great for now?

In 2007 Snowden and Boone wrote a great piece called “A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making”. They described a leadership model called Cynefin (pronounced Kun-evin). This is a fabulous framework for leaders to begin using right now that can help them in extremely practical ways to adjust their leadership approach.  For example, a leader needs to decide if things are chaotic. This is a state where there is high turbulence, no time to think and many unknowables. This situation requires leaders to take immediate action to re-establish order, to provide clear and direct communication and to look for what works instead of seeking the right answer. Some of the issues a leader needs to deal with right now because of the COVID-19 virus are very chaotic. However, some things are complex. This is where there is great uncertainty, there are no right answers, there are many unknowns and creativity is needed. In this case a leader needs to create an environment that allows patterns to emerge through increased levels of interaction. A leader needs to invite engagement to generate ideas through opening up discussions. A leader needs to know when to use each of these different styles within the uncertainty we are all facing now.

To find out more about this framework, read the article “A leaders framework for decision making” and/or contact Steople to seek our support in understanding what this means for you and your VUCA world.