Each organization faces its own indigenous VUCA climate and context—we call it your VUCASPHERE. We believe VUCA is here for the long term, so the critical response is for organizations to develop a superior capacity to recognize and evaluate the VUCA factors as the organizations continue to serve their stakeholders.
Building this capacity becomes the operating context for creating agility for your organization, and before we go any further, we should define what we mean by organizational agility. We see organizational agility as a superior capacity to deliver stakeholder success in an increasingly VUCA world by sensing and responding to obstacles and opportunities better and faster than competition at all levels of your organization. Organizations able to deliver on that proposition will have a clear advantage—a truly competitive advantage for however long it takes your competition to catch up. A true agility advantage will be very hard for others to replicate and hence overcome.
These VUCA contextual factors will ultimately set the bar for what being agile actually means. It is not unlike categorizing conditions in whitewater rafting or rating the force of hurricanes. Are you and your team navigating through Class 1 or Class 5 rapids? Are you operating in storm conditions that are Category 1 or Category 5? In addition to understanding the nature of your challenge, you’ll want to know about the readiness of your vessel (business model, value proposition, processes, and technology) and your crew (your leadership, culture, and people). How would you rate your agility? Are you Class One—Agility Novice or Class Five—Agility Master? We discuss this evolution and agility development in greater detail in our new book, FOCUSED, FAST & FLEXIBLE: Creating Agility Advantage in a VUCA World, which is a companion’s guide for your journey – a journey that will help make you and your organization more focused, fast, and flexible.
Below is a chart you can use with your teams to prompt a meaningful discussion about the forces of change you face in your world filled with your issues and opportunities – your VUCASPHERE MAP. You can adapt the map to fit your needs. Love to have you send me a copy or give me a call to discuss your perspectives.
About Tom O'Shea
Tom O'Shea, CMC, is a principal at Agility Consulting and Training LLC, where he leads the firm's Organizational Agility practice. A Certified Management Consultant (CMC), he has consulting with numerous organizations and coached myriad clients around the world. For more about Tom, visit: http://tomoshea.net/.