In the world of leadership development, we’ve been talking about this VUCA world for well over a decade. The term was first introduced by the U.S. Army War College in the late 1970’s to describe the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world in which we lead and live.
Set against the exponential change we’re witnessing in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), I’ve taken to adding a couple more letters to the acronym in the last couple of years.
It’s widely acknowledged that the third industrial revolution (3IR) started around 1969 and used electronics and IT to give rise to automation, put computers in the palm of our hands and gave rise to a technological age.
So if that’s acknowledged as ‘past’, what’s in the present? Digitisation, virtual worlds, intelligent automation and the synthesis of physical, digital, and biological domains, now collectively referred to as cyber-physical systems are hallmarks of the 4IR (the industrial internet of things). And with it, this suggestion that we update VUCA to include reference to Artificial Intelligence and Disruption; expanding the acronym to VUCA-AID.
And what of the implications for leadership? Set against disruption and change, it’s clear that technical skills will be outpaced and that AI will learn iteratively (at speed), process faster and execute more effectively than humans. Which means that our leaders will be required to be human again.
More than ever, the 4IR requires authentic, values-based leadership. A strong, steady presence with the developmental maturity to adopt multiple perspectives, nimble in thinking, agile and creative with strong emotional intelligence. It’s this ability to connect and engage that is not only a predictor of leadership and organisational effectiveness, but could in fact be the leader’s ‘new’ competitive advantage.
We understand how important this is for your success as a leader, which is why our leadership development programs facilitate deep self-awareness and honing the interpersonal skills you’ll need in this new world. We have created a series of Future Fit Masterclasses and materials, and if you’d like individual application and development stretch, we’d be happy to chat to you about our Bendelta Executive Coaching options.
This article was written by Janine Daniels, Principal Consultant, Sydney