We live in a VUCA world.
This is year 2019. It was just 2018 barely moments ago. That’s how fast the time and the year is changing. The circumstances in our daily lives are also changing. We are aging. That means, one more wrinkle, one more white hair and one more child or probably a grandchild. Although that’s normal but the way things are going, it seems time moves faster than it used to be 50 years ago.
As the earth spins faster, the changes likewise seem to catch up with the speed of time. In the twinkling of an eye, there is and definitely there will be another invention, another idea and another problem. You report for work one morning and you will encounter a new guideline, a new work or probably a new boss. But the problem is, we are not quick to adapt to the changes that are happening. Instead, we are bewitched, bothered and bewildered by it.
There are a lot of events happening and we can’t keep up with them as they unfold. And we wonder what in the world is going on. We want what we are used to. We want what is comfortable. We do not want change. But no matter how we want things to remain unchanged, it not going to happen. Because we now live in a VUCA world.
VUCA is an acronym which stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity. This is how they describe the modern world we now live in. Our world is volatile. Just as when we are adjusting to a new set of circumstances, another change sneaks in and disrupts the normal flow of things. That is why many get stressed and agitated. Changes can trigger several, varied and conflicting reactions. A simple tweaking of a long standing policy can cause a violent uproar. The changes affect people in various ways that you cannot anticipate.
There is uncertainty in our world today. The changes are unpredictable. We do not know where and when the change is coming. That is why some consultants are no longer encouraging the development of 5 year plans or even 3 year plans because that is considered too long and we don’t know what happens in between year 1 to year 5. Companies are now into anticipation and ready to strike mode ready to face the unpredictable environment.
We live in a complex world. Almost everything and everybody is interconnected so that any change that happen affects almost everybody. Take for example electricity. Power interruption does not only disturb one person but the whole community. Business is affected, communication even. We are all interconnected whether we are aware of it or not. Then, there is ambiguity. We are confused as to why change occurred and we don’t have any idea as to how the change affects our lives. That is VUCA for you ladies and gentlemen.
We can no longer insist on what it used to be. We can no longer rely on our long standing practices. We have to adapt. We have to be flexible. Learn to accept change. Resisting will only cause unnecessary stress and unproductive use of energy. There is a line in Bob Dylan’s anthem about change, The Times They Are A-Changing. It says, ”you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone.”