The world is changing rapidly; strategies and approaches that may have worked a few years ago quickly become irrelevant given changes in technology, our environment and demographic shifts and demands with the workforce. This requires showing up differently in order to thrive in this VUCA world; it requires building psychological safety where interpersonal fear is minimized so performance can be maximized.

Although the term VUCA originated in the 1990s in the military, it is becoming common vernacular because it describes a new reality:
● Volatile
● Uncertain
● Complex
● Ambiguous

“Get people comfortable with being uncomfortable. Don’t wait for a return to simpler times; they are over.” Cy Wakeman

Essentially, we have entered a world where disruption is the norm. And this disruption can trigger us to not show up as our best selves. Most of us want to look smart, capable and helpful. In fact, we learn relatively early in life how to manage and avoid interpersonal risks where we might look ignorant, incompetent or disruptive.

Researcher and best selling author, Brené Brown, describes this as “armoring up”, much like medieval solders would put on armor to protect themselves during a battle, we put on armor to protect ourselves and avoid looking bad. Add in the disruption of living and working in a VUCA world, and our instinct to armor up only gets worse.

We need to acknowledge that the world we live in is not certain, simple, static or easy. And we need to support each other in moving from self-protection to self-reflection – so we can show up as our authentic selves while also being effective. We need to create the conditions for everyone to be able to bring their best selves to work – and home – each day.

Our mindsets (and stories) are the primary source of our own stress and pain; they prevent us from finding peace and success. Therefore, it is imperative that we are able to accept what is (uncertainty and ambiguity included), focus on the present and what is known, move from judgment to self-reflection and actively work to succeed to spite of reality (rather than fighting it).

Adapted from Salveo Partners, LLC

If you would like to learn more about how you can show up as a leader in your organization, let’s talk!



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