Now imagine the business perspective of the VUCA world as a Formula 1 racetrack of companies competing to take the lead. Each of them needs a passionate driver, a solid car, professional gear and a skilled racing team that will make sure the construction and maintenance of the car is performed quickly and efficiently.
Keeping the lead on a dynamic environment, such as a racetrack, is challenging as it gives little time to rest, plan your next steps or reorganize your teams. Winning the race requires constantly reacting to changes as they occur and adapt accordingly. The issue with the VUCA race is that it never ends, you can be a winner today and a loser tomorrow.
The pace of change and the volatility of the market have quickly rendered many of the past business lessons learned irrelevant and the future unpredictable.
How does this change the way businesses need to operate?
The key answer to cope with this kind of VUCA landscape is to work in a continuous business transformation model.
We often hear of the need to stay “agile” which holds true. However, to simply cut the usual annual waterfall plan of one, two or five year cycles into half or quarter years, whilst useful to deliver quick wins and short executions, is not enough. This is the “when” of formulating and executing plans around your business strategy but there are crucial elements that are being missed.
The VUCA world is turbulent, but hasn’t changed the basic business goals that most companies are aiming to achieve like increasing revenue, profitability, decreasing costs, acquiring new customers, retaining the existing, etc. The change is not in the objectives themselves, but in the means we need to put in place in order to reach them. This is where the risk lays, launching many initiatives while facing constant changes, turning a big part of them quickly irrelevant, and as a consequence a sunk cost.
Acting fast by itself is not a guarantee that you are doing the right things. You must add in the “what” which defines the initiatives that will be carried out, the “how” - the way you are going to execute and the “who” which defines the taskforce responsible to deliver and the audience.