By Manoj Kumar
CONVERT BAD VUCA TO GOOD VUCA: The world of today is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. To counter this, you need to develop new leadership skills which will provide VISION, UNDERSTANDING, CLARITY AND AGILITY. More than a decade back, Bob Johansen of the institute for the future came up with a book “Leaders Make the Future” which explains the new leadership skills needed for an uncertain world. I have been practicing these over the last many years, and their relevance has never been more so than in today's uncertain times. Entrepreneurs have embraced many of these leadership skills largely due to the nature of their businesses, and it is only apt that we call the new style of management needed today as Entrepreneurial Leadership.
VOLATILITY IS OVERCOME BY VISION: In this world of chaos, leaders need to create a compelling sense of the future they want to create. Your Muse (Tip#1) as well as employees are becoming more conscious of sustainability, nature, traceability etc. when they evaluate brands and companies. You need to develop BIO-EMPATHY skills to connect with nature and its principles. You also need to have the quest to create NEW COMMONS - shared assets that a wider community can use. Recently, the chairman of ITC spoke about his vision of using only pure, natural ingredients in all their food products which will be supported by an all inclusive agri supply chain taking into account interests of all the stakeholders.
UNCERTAINTY IS OVERCOME BY UNDERSTANDING: The world of today cannot be understood by forecasting the trends of the past. Leaders need to develop IMMERSIVE LEARNING ABILITY where they immerse themselves in the unfamiliar environments to learn in a first-person way. The best way to start is to immerse yourself to understand the changing consumer behavior related to Wellbeing, Home and Digital.
CONFUSION IS OVERCOME BY CLARITY: Mostly, leaders like to show they are in command and know all the answers. And when followers are confused, they want clarity and a detailed roadmap - even if it’s wrong. You need to resist the FALSE CLARITY trap and not attempt to provide such level of clarity when it is not possible. You should be very CLEAR about what you are making in the future, and your long term intentions, but be very flexible on how it gets made and how you get there. You need to be TRANSPARENT, open and authentic about what matters to you.
AMBIGUITY IS OVERCOME BY AGILITY: You will need a great deal of flexibility within the boundaries of your vision. You need to develop the skills for RAPID PROTOTYPING, which is essentially agility and learning on the fly. Try things quickly, do not over think, learn from your failures, and move on. This is not the time for inertia. Encourage in your team the MAKER INSTINCT which unleashes creativity at all levels of your organization.
CREATE AN INTERNAL DISRUPTION TEAM. During these days, you may find you are fire-fighting most of the time. Challenges on cash flow, safety, supply chain may be taking a lot of your team's time. This is when you need to create a small INTERNAL DISRUPTION TEAM under your leadership to RE-IMAGINE the Future and bring the GOOD VUCA to play. Rest assured that once you have re-imagined the future, and started using your newly honed leadership skills, your entire organization will eagerly commit to take the leap into the new ERA.