- The accelerating rate of change (volatility)
- The lack of predictability (uncertainty)
- The interconnectedness of cause-and-effect forces (complexity)
- And the strong potential for misreads (ambiguity).
- Joe DePinto – CEO, 7-Eleven
- Mike Fucci – Chairman, Deloitte
- Tony Guzzi – CEO, EMCOR
- Margaret Keane – President and CEO, Synchrony Financial
- Bob Leduc – President, Pratt & Whitney, and
- Bob Weidner – President and CEO, MSCI
This is the first of a series of six articles focusing on what the CEOs did to adjust to their VUCA environment, how it worked and what they learned from their efforts that might be helpful to other CEOs. We hope our readers will find this series, drawn from personal stories, to be of benefit as they lead their companies and teams in today’s VUCA environment.
We begin with a case study drawn from the U.S. Army’s creation of and experience with VUCA to introduce several key concepts that will provide a framework for subsequent articles. In addition to the CEO interviews, we also interviewed General (retired) Dennis Reimer, a former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. General Reimer led the Army of over 1 million soldiers in the latter half of the 1990s and presided over the service’s transformation following the end of the Cold War. Under General Reimer’s command, the concept of “VUCA” was created and the Army’s doctrine and procedures to deal with a VUCA environment were formulated.
The 5 strategies presented above provide a framework for examining what works today in the business world. In subsequent articles, we will look at how corporate CEOs understand their VUCA environments and are positioning their companies to respond effectively. What does VUCA look like today, and how are business leaders adapting to ensure success? Do the strategies used by the Army after the Cold War make sense in today’s business world?
The George Washington University (Washington DC)