Let's dive into a fun topic today - VUCA!
What the heck is that?
Well, it's an acronym that has floated around since the 80's, but has gained more attention over the past 2 decades.
What is it, and how does it play into Leadership Psychophysiology?
What Is VUCA?
V - Volatility
Volatility refers to the speed of change in an industry, market, or the world, at large.
The faster that things change, the more Volatile it is considered.
In our world today, things tend to move FAST!
Not everything, but MANY things move at incredible speeds.
This makes many aspects of life very Volatile today.
U - Uncertainty
Uncertainty refers to how well we can predict what will occur in the Future.
Many factors go into how well we can predict things.
Familiarity with a subject is greatly helpful.
If we struggle to understand what will occur, then it is considered very uncertain.
C - Complexity
Complexity refers to the number of factors that need to be taken into account within a certain context, as well the the relationships between those factors.
If there are many Factors to consider, the topic is Complex.
If there are many aspects of relationships to consider within those Factors, it adds to that complexity.
The larger the system of factors and relationships, the more things we must consider within that topic.
A - Ambiguity
Ambiguity refers to how much clarity we have in something.
If things are simple to understand, the Ambiguity is low.
If we have a tough time understanding what is supposed to be done, what is supposed to occur, or what factors in, then Ambiguity is high.
As Ambiguity increases, it becomes more difficult to understand the situation as we lose clarity on what is happening.
Is VUCA Good Or Bad?
Now, the automatic instinct when looking at these is to assume that VUCA is bad.
But what if I were to tell you that is the wrong way to understand it?
The best way to know if VUCA is Good or Bad is to understand what VUCA actually is.
The best part is that VUCA can be described perfectly in ONE word!
The more VUCA that exists, the more Stressful something is.
VUCA is just a slightly more nuanced way to say, and look at, Stress.
Now, there is a lot of misinformation on Stress out in the world.
Stress (and VUCA) do play a role in our Wellness and Wellbeing, BUT Stress is actually just a tool!
As with any tool in the world, its use is only as good as how you use it.
A hammer is GREAT at pushing nails into a surface.
A hammer is TERRIBLE at installing thin glass windows.
In the same way, Stress is neither good nor bad inherently.
In fact, there is more than one type of Stress!
Dis-Stress is what we are mostly familiar with, and that is Bad Stress.
Eu-Stress on the other hand is Good Stress, which we are less familiar with!
You can think of all of this on a scale.
On one end you have No Stress (wouldn't that be nice!).
On the other end, you have Dis-Stress.
In the middle, you have Eu-Stress.
Dis-Stress causes problems for us in life.
When we have too much VUCA in our lives, we end up in Dis-Stress.
When we are in Dis-Stress for too long, we begin to reach Burnout.
On the other side though, if we lack VUCA in our lives, we become bored.
When we are Bored for too long, we begin to reach Apathy.
However, for Recovery, ideally, we want to be closer to No Stress (Just not for long periods).
Right in the middle tends to be the sweet spot, Eu-Stress.
We want just enough VUCA that we get extremely engaged in what we are doing.
This becomes the path that leads to Flow States!
Flow is when we are at our Psychophysiological Best!
So is VUCA good or bad?
It depends on what you are doing and what our goal is!
If we are trying to Recover, we want to lessen our VUCA and Stress.
If we are trying to get into Flow States, we want to adjust our VUCA to get into Eu-Stress.
If we find ourselves in Dis-Stress, we need to lessen our VUCA to get to either Recovery or Flow.
If we are already in Burnout, we need to lessen our VUCA all the way to Recovery and make sure we heal any Stress Damage we have sustained!
The right amount of VUCA is the key!
Ideally for Leaders and their Teams to reach Peak Performance, they must be going through cycles of Flow and Recovery.
So VUCA and Stress ideally should fluctuate between Eu-Stress (for Flow), and Less Stress (for Recovery).
Dis-Stress then becomes an indicator that we have gone past Eu-Stress and need to lessen VUCA.