“The outlook for 2022? Uncertainty is our new certainty.” – Futurist Jim Carroll
What’s in store for 2022?
That’s the question a number of potential clients have been asking me as they plan out their leadership meetings into the spring of 2022; it’s pretty clear they are trying to assess whether they charge ahead with in-person commitments or virtual events. This is all happening in the context of the ongoing debate about the return to work, the reopening of the economy, and how soon we will get back to normal.
In that context, The Guardian ran this headline just 3 days ago:
Oops : in a fast moving world, some things just don’t age well. The news from South Africa this morning does not bode well for our reality.
Lately, I’ve been working on an end-of-year show as a lead-in to next year, and have been working on the theme of VUCA.
VUCA? Back in May 2020, I ran this observation as my Daily Inspiration: “Volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity. This is your reality. Deal with it. Keep innovating!” (The image is atrocious, but that was state-of-the-studio art for me at the time!)
Here’s what I wrote. You might want to keep it in mind as you think about our year to come:
VUCA – volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity – defines your future. It’s a leadership concept that has been around for quite some time, but has taken on new relevance and meaning in these current challenging times.
It’s the context in which you need to move your company forward, inspire your team to action, and accelerate yourself into the unknown. And unfortunately, despite the desire by many to return to the ‘olden days’ – i.e. February – that world is not coming back any time soon. People are delusional thinking that all we need to do is ‘flip a switch’ and the economy re-opens.
I’m a realist – this is a 1 year, 2 year, 5 year voyage, if not longer. The global economy is in the midst of sweeping and wrenching change, and NOTHING will ever be the same. Some companies, leaders, people and countries will do well in reinventing themselves for a new state of normal. Others, who think that freedom comes at the end of the barrel of a gun and flouting the personal safety of their fellow citizens, are already showing themselves lacking the maturity and capability to invent the dramatic new opportunities of the future.
Watch carefully the leaders who align to the VUCA mindset, the reality of what it represents, and innovate within it. They are the ones who will emerge the winners as we come through this unique period of history. They’ll present the grand visions, the bold ideas, the sweeping concepts, that historians will come to judge as the actions that propelled those around them into a new and opportunistic future.
VUCA folks. Uncertainty is our only certainty. Hang on tight!