What is a VUCA environment and how can it impact your company?

That you think is happening just to your company, actually happens to us all. Have you ever wondered how the environment affects your business? The term VUCA is a tool to start reflecting upon this complex scenario we are experiencing at present, how to approach it, and what should be done to adapt to it.

By the end of the Cold War, the United States started to use the term VUCA to refer to the new reality, and to try and think of some answers before such context.

The acronym stands for

  • (V) Volatility
  • (U) Uncertainty 
  • (C) Complexity
  • (A) Ambiguity

It is usually applied to assess complex environments where tasks may vary and change as fast as the environment around them.

This term was first used in the business world after the economic crisis of 2008 and mostly in these days where technological advances move so speedily that any planning goes astray, forcing companies to introduce quick, radical changes into their management decisions. This can be portrayed in different contexts, regardless of the field: services, industry, production and technology.

VUCA Scenarios

What is it about?

Two of the most common ways to carry out a business strategy is bringing knowledge and predictability into play. Two issues which are turning increasingly difficult to achieve.

When we analyze the context using the VUCA concept, we obtain different scenarios, each with its own feature and its own way to be approached. In order to define these contexts we make use of a matrix results in a four-option chart. According to the level of predictability or knowledge about each situation, we’ll have a different type of specific scenario.

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How do we face a context with these characteristics?

Each scenario means a different approach strategy. 

For instance, if we are in the middle of a volatile scenario we should have a very clear vision about what needs to be done, and the whole team has to share the management mission. The means is trust: saying what will be done, and doing as agreed.

If we find ​uncertainty​, it’s key to face this scenario with some understanding. Slowing down, assessing variables and reducing lack of information. Getting everyone involved and welcoming their participation.

When we are in a complex scenario, we need clarity to make the proper decisions counting on all the information we might have. We have to be straight-forward and honest to build a reliable, collaborative environment.

And finally, in a case of ​ambiguity​, we’ll have to work as from our agility, focusing on the work team, getting everybody involved and staying well communicated internally so as to be able to adapt to changes very quickly. How? Through communication and commitment: seeking mutual understanding, exploring possibilities.

It is important to find guidance, take on responsibilities, but mostly: to empower people.

The strength of the Freelancer at VUCA scenarios

Technological advances have pushed companies to solve increasing changing problems, both quickly and efficiently. In such a context, remote workers or freelancers can usually face those challenges and make the most of them. They can be hired to solve a specific need, bring about new trends, promote agility or response speed.

Get to know all the categories where Freelancers could join you at Freelancers Directory.

Final conclusions

Now that we fully grasp what the VUCA scenarios are about we can start thinking of different strategies to survive, adapt, stand out or get scaled up. We invite you to create, conceptualize your business with this vision about contexts…

What can you do to get scaled up? Are you guys making the right strategic decisions to adapt to a new scenario?  

*This article is a collaboration of Elena Ficher, industrial designer and freelancer at Workana

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