Dealing with the Dynamic, Uncertain and Complex World


This time I have four articles to share with you. As the title suggests, they are about how to deal with the future with those aforementioned characteristics. The first one, "Leading in an Increasingly VUCA World (," talks about how leaders should deal with such an environment. VUCA, an acronym developed by the US military after the collapse of the Soviet Union, stands for volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. In such a world, obviously, industrial age structures and practices will not do. Leaders need much more than that.

The second article, "This is the one skill your child needs for the jobs of the future (," lists the skill set needed for the year 2020. According to the Future of Jobs Report published recently by World Economic Forum, the top three skills include - unsuprisingly - complex problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity. Moreover, skills related to dealing with others and one's emotional states are also important in this world. To develop and enhance these skills in kids - and in us, the adults - for the future, the authors argue, is lifelong play! Wow, let's do it - it's fun and cheap!

To  successfully tackle and solve new challenges in the future, we need to ascertain the nature of the problems, according to the third article, "The Critical Difference Between Complex and Complicated (" There are three types of problems: simple, complicated, and complex. For this reason, the practices, approaches, and mindsets needed to deal with them are very different. To remain sustainable in the complex environment, the best an organization can do is to develop (1) a manage-not-solve strategy, which may deter hubris by being humble; (2) a try-learn-adpat approach, which enhances organizational adatability; and (3) a complexity mindset, which is a creative one that focuses on the potentials rather than on the actualities. 

The last article, "How to Cultivate Leadership That Is Hones to Solved Problems (," is based on a leadership research at MIT, whose "alumni have launched more than 30,200 active companies, employing roughly 4.6 million people and generating roughly US$1.9 trillion in annual revenues." If your organizations want to develop on-going and high-impact innovations, the approach shown may be for you. In addition to developing "anti-leadership leadership," the nature of the problem must be highly challenging to capture the interested of these highly capable, introverted, and - perhaps - quirky individuals. Moreover, these people must have deep and diverse expertises to come up with creative and novel ideas. 

To say the least, what these articles point to is the fact that status quo will not do. We'll need new thinking, approaches, and knowledge to be sustainable in the long-run in the VUCA world. In the world of Action Learning, challenging probelms, diversity, committment to learning, action, reflective inquiry, and the AL coach are factors that help organizations and leaders deal with the unforgiving and - yet - potentailly rewarding future. Though it may not be "cheap," AL can be highly rewarding - both financailly and intellectually - and fun!