Feb 27, 2014

Thriving in a VUCA world

The term VUCA was made by the US Army to describe a world in which things are Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous.

The world is becoming more and more VUCA and while organizations try grappling with it, what should individuals do? What are the skills needed to thrive in these VUCA times?

This FastCompany article makes a case that Generation Flux, people who embrace continuous new skills will be the one to succeed in this chaotic world.

Some excerpts, go read the full article:

What defines GenFlux is a mind-set that embraces instability, that tolerates--and even enjoys--recalibrating careers, business models, and assumptions. Not everyone will join Generation Flux, but to be successful, businesses and individuals will have to work at it. This is no simple task. The vast bulk of our institutions--educational, corporate, political--are not built for flux. Few traditional career tactics train us for an era where the most important skill is the ability to acquire new skills.

DJ Patil is a GenFluxer. He has worked in academia, in government, in big public companies, and in startups; he is a technologist and a businessman; a teacher and a diplomat. He is none of those things and all of them, and who knows what he will be or do next? Certainly not him. "That doesn't bother me," he says. "I'll find something."

The new reality is multiple gigs, some of them supershort (see "The Four-Year Career"), with constant pressure to learn new things and adapt to new work situations, and no guarantee that you'll stay in a single industry. It can be daunting. It can be exhausting. It can also be exhilarating. "Fear holds a lot of people back," says Raina Kumra, 34. "I'm skill hoarding. Every time I update my resume, I see the path that I didn't know would be. You keep throwing things into your backpack, and eventually you'll have everything in your tool kit."
"Command-and-control hierarchical structures are being disintegrated," says danah boyd, a social-science researcher for Microsoft Research who also teaches at New York University. "There's a difference between the old broadcast world and the networked world."

On a related note here's a table from Tara Hunt asking you to be fox than a hedgehog