Welcome to a brave new VUCA world

Management theory has a tendency to borrow terms from the military. For instance, the term strategy has its roots in warfare, and a brief review of books on management strategy yields such titles as "The Art of War for Managers" and "Executive Warfare".

VUCA is the latest term to have been taken over by management consultants from the military. VUCA stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity, having been coined in the 1990's to describe extreme circumstances of change in which campaigns are to be waged.

Recently an article in the Australian Financial Review highlighted the need for diversity in our workplaces as a key to dealing with increasingly VUCA environments. The article quotes Juliet Bourke, a partner in Deloitte, who talks about the need for a diversity of approaches, voices and thinking in organisations in order to manage this new environment of rapid change.  She says:

We see many organisations that are really held back by subconscious biases, and internally generated blindness, which spring from a lack of diversity. People tend to include people the same as themselves – who have the same ideas as themselves. But if an organisation doesn't catalyse diversity, (a) it will hold the organisation back, and (b) it won't be able to thrive

Her main point seems to be that "workplace culture is the single most important human capital issue. But to harness the human capital, you need an absolutely committed inclusive leader."

She makes some excellent points that can be applied across a range of organisational contexts. It does throw up some challenges for Christians to know how to foster inclusiveness and diversity while maintaining a distinctly Christian worldview. Yet one thing is clear, we have to learn to adapt to our rapidly changing world if we are to have any influence for good within it.