n a VUCA (Volatile, Un- certain, Complex and Am- biguous) world, nothing is

certain. Often, ambiguous situations and conditions can be volatile, and complexity is increasing or finding new forms to impact how we do business. In this world, the ‘experts leading from the front’ are not particularly effective at managing, as the uncertainty and ambiguity makes it more difficult for leaders to scan the horizon and plot the course for the organisation, function or department. Nowadays, you need to cultivate the talent within the whole organisation, not just those at the top, so they experience the VUCA context in different ways and are not fazed by volatility. Rather, they help leaders to get a complete picture of the situation to move forward. But is your talent ready and able to help your organi- sation navigate in a VUCA world? Talent selection and development activities in most organisations are often structured using a set of compe- tencies or behaviours that are impor- tant for success in the role, but don’t always take account of how to apply that behaviour in a changing context. Te key to developing talent to be successful in a VUCA world is to focus not just on the competencies for the role, but also on the environment in which they will be working. Your talent needs to be able to do several things.

ing Change1

Forum’s research in 2005 on Lead- shows that the best way

Ambiguity impacts planning, decision- making and clarity and often results in the need for more exploration and evaluation

Be comfortable with ambiguity

Ambiguity impacts planning, deci- sion-making and clarity and often results in the need for more explora- tion and evaluation. Some people are comfortable with ambiguity, while others who crave structure may find it difficult to work with ‘soft’ plans and strategies, so L&D and leaders need to work together to help talent deal with ambiguity or ‘walk in the fog and be comfortable with it’.

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to get talent to accept uncertainty is by developing people who can anticipate the future. Encourage talent to spend time thinking about the future and its impact on themselves and their team. Increase their knowledge about the future and their awareness of potential situations and events that could impact individuals, teams and how they do business. Invite them to look beyond your typical sources and resources for ideas, points of view and information. Tose who tolerate risk are also those who venture outside their com- fort zone, are aware of their own ability to adapt in a variety of situations, and venture beyond the boundaries of information and ideas to satisfy more than their immediate needs. Show that failure is an opportunity for learning and encourage talent to make riskier decisions as well as exercise curios- ity so they expand their repertoire of personal experience. Also, teach them to perceive difficulties as less challenging, and ensure they remain determined to make things happen and focused on the end goals, even when faced with unsettling circumstances.

Flexible and adaptable

Your talent needs to be adaptable and flexible when planning and executing

in a VUCA world – ‘in the old days we had a plan and stuck to it, now we plan to re-plan regularly whenever we get new information’. Planning has become more iterative and so you need to help your talent understand how and why strategies and plans adapt, the assumptions they need to contain in an uncertain world and why we need to check these assumptions regularly and then update the plans as new information is obtained. Successful course correction de- pends on the efficacy with which the team collects and reviews information about the initiative as it progresses and makes changes to enhance strategy ex- ecution. To build adaptability into the planning process, L&D must empower talent to be able to establish effective measures of progress and success, and create control systems that take into account the reactions and concerns of people affected by the plans or strategy. Talent must be able to con-

duct regular, meaningful progress reviews to stimulate learning and cultivate experience while making the needed adjustments and course corrections to plans and strategies.

Build commitment

Te VUCA lens distorts the dynamic world we experience. Terefore, L&D and leaders must regularly check in


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