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How to manage MPS in a VUCA world 1/5

By Jean-Louis de la Salle

During the Christmas Season, I was travelling in South East Asia where I had not been for twenty years. Of course there was the realisation of seeing Thailand as a developed country with a democracy struggling with a more divided sentiment than used to be. Don’t we share this in quite a few European countries, Italy to name one?

But as I landed from the busy excitement of the very active weeks before my departure, and before falling into a state of stupor on a beach, I started reading the local business news. One of them attracted my attention and I wanted to share this with you and also see how well it relates to our industry. Though the article was published in Bangkok, it referred to a conference in India (the local press is very Asia centric and does not care much about business in Europe ……sorry for our egos) and it was about a management theory, I had not heard about in Europe. I am not seeing everything although I read or at least follow quite a few of those themes.

The theme is “how to manage in a VUCA world”.

For those who are just as unfamiliar as I was, VUCA is an acronym that stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity.
These words resounded very well with me whilst thinking of our Industry and how it is moving forward.

Like many of you, and thanks to the Internet, when I encounter an “unknown” concept, I look for it in Wikipedia. Here it was: The common usage of the term VUCA began in the late 1990s and derives from military vocabulary and has been subsequently used in emerging ideas in strategic leadership that apply in a wide range of organisations.

So the concept is quite young. Younger indeed than printers and networked copiers, let alone MFPs! Just to set a perspective and put some sort of comparative benchmark.

More details followed:

V = Volatility. The nature and dynamics of change, and the nature and speed of change forces and change catalysts.
U = Uncertainty. The lack of predictability, the prospects for surprise, and the sense of awareness and understanding of issues and events.
C = Complexity. The multiplex of forces, the confounding of issues and the chaos and confusion that surround an organization.
A = Ambiguity. The haziness of reality, the potential for misreads, and the mixed meanings of conditions; cause-and-effect confusion.

In the following posts, I will address each one of these points as I see it of specific importance to our industry.

As consultants, we have a mission to anticipate trends and events. We will help organisations meet the challenges outlined in this post and turn them into opportunities.

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This article was written on 10 Feb 2014, and is filled under VUCA.

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