Conquering COVID-19 with VUCA

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When COVID-19 became a global pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, it resulted in volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) in our world. While things are now getting better, the impacts of COVID-19 on people’s lives and corporate entities are still all around us to see. To turn around the current VUCA environment we find ourselves, we also need a VUCA strategy. This VUCA strategy encompasses vision, understanding, clarity and agility in planning and execution.

Meet volatility with vision

The coronavirus outbreak was highly unexpected when it happened and how long the battle against it will last is still unclear. Although we now know the causes, prevention strategies and treatment for the virus, there is still so much to learn.

80 hearty cheers to an Icon: Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi
Pharm. Sesan Kareem

This pandemic has created unpredictability in various industries, markets and, indeed the global economy. It has caused fluctuations in foreign exchange, which has affected the realities of business and livelihood. It has changed how we live, how we work, the skills we need to perform our roles, the job opportunities in the marketplace, as well as creating fresh threats to job security.

Both business leaders and the working class have experienced emotional and mental reawakening on the new normal due to COVID-19. We must counter volatility with vision, if we want to survive these tough times and thrive thereafter.

Create a compelling vision for your life and business. A vision that will inspire you to take action on your goals and dreams. A vision that will motivate you to become your best version and be resilient.

Stay true to your values for your people; model those values at all times. Doing this will give you the focus to adapt quickly to the new realities of our world and also help your team members to do the same. Your compelling vision and values will help you to adjust your strategy, leadership and culture to do things differently and succeed in a VUCA environment.

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Counter uncertainty with understanding

Uncertainty is characterised by the inability to predict the future with confidence. COVID-19 has resulted in uncertainty in many people’s lives and organisations. Nowadays, people are not certain about the security of their jobs and what the future holds for them. Many businesses are struggling to pay salaries; they are on the verge of downsizing or closure.

Most governments in the developing world are finding it difficult to pay workers’ salaries as and when due. The global economy has declined, creating the worst recession since the Great Depression. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the world economy shrank by 7% in 2020 and may shrink by 4.4% by 2021.

Indeed, we are in uncertain times. Meet uncertainty with understanding. Identify gaps in the marketplace and take advantage of new opportunities. Take action with understanding and faith.

Respond to complexity with clarity

It is a fact that we are now in a more complex world due to COVID-19. We need to put a lot of factors into consideration when making our business or life decisions. Whether we are travelling on a business trip, planning a training session, doing a weekly meeting or launching a new product, there are many factors, guidelines and COVID-19 protocols we must take into account.

Under high complexity, it is quite difficult to fully analyse the environment and come to rational conclusions. The more complex the environment is, the harder it is to analyse. The volume and nature of planning for productive activities can be overwhelming during this period. However, we must response to complexity with clarity. We must be crystal clear about what is required to get results. You must be very clear when you communicate; promote teamwork, unity, resilience and collaboration. This will give people a clear direction and also help them to solve complex problems together.

Face ambiguity with agility

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Today, our world is an ambiguous place to live in because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite all the information in the public domain, we still have a lot to know about the genesis of COVID-19, coronavirus and covid-19 vaccines. We have contradicting information in the media on the pandemic; different data on its impact on businesses and the global economy, and when living a normal life in our beautiful world will come back to how it used to be. Therefore, it is difficult to make informed decisions and plan effectively for the future.

Honestly, we are in a state of vagueness and fuzziness in ideas and truths in the world. We must fight ambiguity with agility. We must take action with the current information we have, stay adaptable, be open, learn new skills, and embrace creativity.

In conclusion, we must use vision, understanding, clarity and agility to face the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment we find ourselves in because of COVID-19. At Mareek, we help achievers and their organisations create a compelling vision for the future, learn new skills and develop the clarity of purpose to take action with understanding and agility.

ACTION PLAN: Create a compelling vision for your future. Learn new skills to excel in your profession. And take action on your goals and vision.

AFFIRMATION: I am a visionary. I am resilient. I am blessed and highly favoured.

Sesan Kareem helps business leaders and organisations and instils in them, not just the belief system to succeed and the motivation to excel, but also the actionable strategies to grow and thrive in our ever-changing world. He is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Mareek Image Concepts.

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