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VUCA 2.0: a new meaning

The acronym VUCA originated in the 1980s, but it comes up often in this historical period precisely because of its meaning—Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity—which characterizes the current global scenario we are experiencing:

V= Volatility, understood as instability, changeability

U= Uncertainty, the emblem of this moment in history

C= Complexity, that is, a complex governed by emergencies, with a multiplicity of elements or aspects that need to be taken into account

A= Ambiguity, lack of clarity due to the presence of more than one meaning and the consequent confusion; contradictory, deceptive, not predictable

Recently, Bill George, a well-known American businessman, academic and Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School, coined a new meaning for the same acronym, called VUCA 2.0:

V: Vision, which requires the company to have internal strength and stability with capable leaders

U: Understanding, meaning the ability to open up to the world, to give and receive feedback, to ask for help

C: Courage, meaning the courage to make decisions and think systemically, since the situation is complex and a simple, linear approach is not enough

A: Adaptability, meaning the flexibility to adapt to difficult and changing situations

This new VUCA 2.0 differs from the better-known, initial VUCA not only in its definitions, but also in its meaning, which points to an active approach. VUCA indicates the parameters of a situation which are beyond our control, whereas VUCA 2.0 indicates characteristics that are within our control and which each of us can govern. These are skills that we can implement in order to perform to the best of our abilities in external situations. Indeed, it is not enough to have vision, we must apply it by drawing on the courage to make bold decisions in an uncertain and complex world. The ability to be flexible and adapt is also indispensable for overcoming difficulties and unforeseen events in a time of ambiguity and instability. Bill emphasizes the necessity and importance of using Vision, Understanding, Courage and Adaptability. All these skills are as fundamental for the modern leader guiding an organization through a crisis today as sport-specific skills are for a top athlete. Those who do not possess these skills are required to learn and cultivate them, and those who already possess them are required to develop and refine them throughout their careers.

In a VUCA situation, let’s put VUCA 2.0 into action!

Author: Valentina Reiner

Valentina Reiner is Certified Business Coach (CBC™) by Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC), European Individual Accreditation (EIA) Coach/Mentor at Senior Practitioner Level by European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC), Neuromanager Positivo Applicato (NPA®) by Apprendo Academy

Valentina Reiner
Valentina Reiner

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1. https://nbaa.org/news/business-aviation-insider/2021-jan-feb/vuca-2-0-leadership-solution-using-vision-adaptability-succeed/ February 2021

2. https://www.thedeeping.eu/2022/11/04/the-quadrumvirate-of-virtues/ Valentina Reiner, The Deeping, November 2022

3. https://www.thedeeping.eu/2021/01/22/come-superare-la-resistenza-ai-cambia-menti-e-trovare-il-proprio-equilibrio/ Valentina Reiner, The Deeping, January 2021

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