Grant Rawlinson and Tom Williams opened last weeks webinar asking us all the question - What is VUCA? I will be honest, it is an acronym that I hadn't come across before but it was originally used by the American Military. It stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous, all of which are highly applicable to todays covid-19 world.
So, when it comes to navigating a VUCA environment, it is important to use the right 'decision making system', of which there are four; Guessing, Intuition, Critical and Team Decision Making. It is no surprise that Team Decision Making is the most important at times like these, and when analysing this, there are four key types:
1. Haphazard - this has grown organically in a team and there is no definitive responsibility.
2. Committee Decision - where groups are making decisions in small teams and come to a general consensus. However, it is easy for one individual to have a great influence over the others.
3. Highly Structured - where there is a hierarchal framework and all decisions are pushed from the top down. This might work well in a simple environment, but not one that is VUCA. Grant shared a study with us which showed that of 35,000 climbers of Mt. Everest, teams with a highly structured decision making structure were the most likely to die!
4. Highly Aligned & Adaptable - decision making is decentralised and made together but aligning with the group or organisations strategies. This is the decision making structure that successful sports teams, military teams and organisations follow.
Upon reflecting on Tom and Grants webinar, and how best to implement such decision making into my current environment, it became clear that for us all, in uncertain times the process of the decision is most important, as the outcome is unknown.
In practice, the four terms are related. The more complex and volatile an industry is, for example, the harder to predict and therefore more uncertain it will be. Yet, all four represent distinct elements that make our environment - the world, a market, an industry - harder to grasp and control.