The Challenges of a VUCA World – Volitility
This post is part of a series on VUCA – The Challenges of a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous World.
VUCA is a practical code for awareness and readiness defining a set of conditions in which decisions are made. Volatility describes the nature, speed, volume, magnitude, and dynamics of change.
In the past month, the UK has seen rapid and significant change. Not least to the financial markets. We’ve also witnessed daily challenges to the potential leadership of the country – first from those within the Leave campaign and then the Conservative Party, resulting in the unchallenged rise of Theresa May – and with the Labour party still facing their own leadership challenges. Aside from all that is, of course, the question of our standing in Europe and beyond, and what impact that will have.
We also face challenges in the workplace, whether they’re affected by Brexit or not. It may be as simple as a new project or something as significant as a redundancy consultation.
Sometimes these events might be unexpected but at least they can be anticipated. Strategic planning can build flexibility into budgets, supply chains, or team capacity to cope with increasing demands. At other times, events can erupt out of nowhere and can trigger a further collapse, which can create a volatile situation for everyone.
However, what may be seen as a threat can provide an unseen opportunity. It may result in the chance to streamline a part of the business that had grown out of control. It could even be an excuse to try something that would have seemed too risky in normal circumstances.
What does it take to seize an opportunity when conditions appear volatile and threatening?
Does it take courage, foresight, or experience? Determination or a willingness to risk? It takes resilience – which incorporates all of these qualities.
“Navigating the threats and opportunities created by market volatility requires some skill and a good helping of emotional resolve” Brexit – An Opportunity As Well As A Threat – Financial Times
Resilience, or emotional resolve, has become a parenting buzzword. Raising a resilient child is the goal if you want to see them excel beyond academic success to navigate life’s challenges. However, it’s also a good word for describing the strength of character that’s vital in the midst of a sudden and dramatic change because resiliency is the ability to rise above adversity. Picture a tree that’s able to bend in a storm, without either standing rigid or toppling over. Its roots run deep. It has weathered storms like this one before and it has the resources it can draw on when all hell is breaking loose around it.
Music and Muscles
Our work helps to strengthen those same qualities, before the storm hits. We work with your emotional strength as much as your corporate strength. In fact, we see emotional resolve or intelligence as a trait that undergirds everything. Just as core muscle strength supports your frame whatever sporting discipline you excel at, professional musicians must develop emotional strength to consistently perform at the highest levels in a highly competitive industry.
And it’s not just musicians that have much to teach us about performing under pressure but music can also be restorative when our resilience has been stretched and strained. Listening to music or learning to play an instrument ourselves can be a helpful retreat from the challenges of the workplace, as well as a means of recovery. Most of us can remember a time when a particular song or piece of music has significantly affected our mood for the better. Studies show that music can reduce pain and anxiety too, with a significant positive effect on our stress levels and our general sense of wellbeing.
Change is a constant source of threat to our established success. No-one can predict the outcome when conditions are volatile. Those that can adapt to changing conditions tend are those who have learned how to thrive whatever their circumstances.
In working with a wide range of individuals and organisations, we’ve found that music is a powerful metaphor for business. Music opens up emotions in a non-threatening. It facilitates open conversation, a willingness to listen and engage, and that inspires change. The good news is that not only can we strengthen our resilience to be able to weather difficult conditions. We can also learn how to see those conditions as an opportunity rather than a threat.
At Moving Performance, we tailor our solutions to meet the needs of your business at all organisational levels. Our leadership development programmes use music as an experiential learning space where you can explore and develop your leadership style. We facilitate one-of-a-kind business gatherings. Taking your objectives as the starting point, we lead your people into a musical performance linked to your commercial drivers.