Treasure 106 – VUCA, Transformation, Community

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What skills do you need in the VUCA world? How do you embark on a journey into the unknown? How do you build a community? Treasure 106 is like a little Marco Polo travel guide to the uncertain and complex world.

Nugget #1 – What skills do you need in the VUCA world?

Already in early 2016, Tanmay Vora wrote that the rate of change in today’s business world exceeds responsiveness. Now we have 2019 and I claim the rate of change has increased steadily, not only due to trade disputes and Brexit. The acronym VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) has now attained hypestatus and runs the risk of being burned like Agile. The 12 competences in the article increase the chance of a long life for your company. I would like to pick up three of them at this point and inspire you to take your first steps:

  • Adaptability (#1) – I can’t stress it often enough. Surprises are VUCAs best friend. I manage not to get angry about it more often, both professionally and privately, but to make the best or even something better out of it. “If life gives you lemons, make it lemonade.” How about a lemonade corner in your office? If there is a surprise, you meet in the lemonade corner and toast to it. Together you spin ideas on how to use the surprise as an opportunity. The stories can be shared on a pinboard next to the lemonade corner. In the article Misfits there is even more inspiration about surprises (probably everyone knows the article by now 😉 ).
  • Human engagement (#4) – In many companies Scientific Management is still strong. The people in the company are seen as gears in a machine. This approach fails in the VUCA world. A machine is usually rigid and not very adaptable. Instead of cogwheels driven by targets and extrinsic motivators in the system, intrinsically motivated and entrepreneurial thinking people are needed. But what drives the people in your organization? This can be found out with Moving Motivators, about which I wrote in Wilde 13.
  • Network and Cooperation (#8) – There is more on internal networks in Nugget #3. External partnerships and networks are my daily life in my current job. Outside the company I am looking for solutions to our challenges. Thanks to Supplier Enabled Innovation we solve problems with the help of existing suppliers and new external partners. Do you have a nut to crack in the company? Why not invite 2-3 existing suppliers to this topic and work together on the solution? Why the approach even makes economic sense, I recently quoted in a tweet:

By the way, the article is beautifully summarized by a sketchnote at the end. This is perfect as a printout for the office or as a desktop background. (7 min, text, English)

Nugget #2 – How do you embark on a journey into the unknown?

When reading Nugget #1 it quickly becomes clear that a lot of change is necessary. The word Change is a nightmare for many people. The board of directors goes offsite for a retreat and comes back with a change plan to be implemented in the change project. Jörg Jelden outlines a more promising way and speaks of transformation instead of change. For example, he looks at the three sides of an organization – formal, informal, show side. In many change projects, only the formal side of the organization is considered and people wonder why the change project somehow runs completely differently than expected.

In the article there are a handful of principles on how to approach a journey into the unknown. I particularly like this statement:

You can admit to yourself that you do not know exactly where the journey will take you and you are willing to embark with your employees on a journey into uncharted and partly also uncharted terrain.

That fits perfectly with my mission with this blog. I would like to encourage you to explore unknown paths, inspire you to travel into new terrain and give you ideas on how to survive in new terrain. Is your company about to embark on a journey into the unknown? What’s wrong with sailing? I am looking forward to feedback. (8 min, text, German)

Nugget #3 – How to build a community?

Nugget #1 is about internal networks. But how do you create and maintain such networks? Bernhard Schloß has presented a nice tool for working on and in communities. In my current enterprise there is the #TogetherFIRST Community. The platform for exchange was initiated by my colleagues Michael Seifert and Benjamin Wölfel. Inspired by our company principles FIRST we have been helping each other for several weeks through the VUCA world. It was time to take the small but fine community to the next level. So on Monday this week ten volunteers met and worked with the Minimum Viable Community Canvas. With only two hours of time we were able to collect the different perspectives on our identity, as well as develop concrete measures for experiences, rules and communication. At one point or another in the identity we were quite different opinions or heterogeneous and we could still depict it in the canvas. We let the different perspectives stand for the time being. But we also had many points where we could clearly see our common denominator. The Community Canvas was definitely a helpful tool and I am looking forward to expand this community further. (3 min, text, German)