Greatness when it’s hot, fast and turbulent

Milton Kamwendo Hunt for Greatness
THESE are not usual times. They are very unusual and you know it and can feel it. It is the new normal. They are not like the past; they defy descriptions. There are new pressures, measures and messages. This is unfamiliar terrain; there are unsettling events and unpredictable happenings. These are VUCA — Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous times.

Times that challenge historians, baffle those seeking comfort, disappoint charlatans, shock statisticians and unsettle minds.

VUCA times can be survived. Your determination, vision, courage and creativity will carry you forward.

What you may have experienced or are experiencing is a symptom of the new times. It is the new normal. Tame it or forever be a sour career complainer and cynic. Expect more dynamism, explore possibilities but do not run like a mad rat because wherever you go you shall meet VUCA times.

Your mindset is your key to success. Your attitude will do more for you and give you staying power. Your faith is your anchor and whatever contribution you make makes a difference. You will survive and thrive. Do not lose hope or courage.

This calls for leadership, creativity, imagination and staying power.

It is a new road and a trying season. The grand rapids of change that defy description are upon us. These are VUCA climate experienced globally and being aware of them is important and helps breed sanity.

Such are the times we are living in and they are not going away soon.

It is the new normal with brief episodes of relief. The concept of VUCA was introduced by the US Army War College to describe the more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, multilateral world and environment that resulted from the end of the Cold War.

In that environment, the army was bracing itself to adapt to new ways of conceiving asymmetric war and multi-layered threats that were posed by a changed, complex, unpredictable and volatile environment.

The dynamics at play were new, fast, explosive and different.

The rules of the game had changed. There were no more rules. Nothing in the past had adequate preparation for the challenges ahead that came from having to manage in a highly technologically sophisticated world where everything was changing at fleeting speed. A new unfamiliar new normal was being presented by terrorism, cyber-warfare, star wars, nuclear threats, unconventional warfare, changing power dynamics, economic shocks, social pressures and geo-political arrangements that were nothing like the past.

The acronym itself was not created until the late 1990s.

It was not until the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, that the VUCA notion and acronym really took hold.

VUCA was subsequently adopted by business thinkers to describe the chaotic, crisis-laden, turbulent, multi-facetted and rapidly changing business environment that was becoming the new normal everywhere.

This new normal, the chaotic, unsettling “new normal” in business and life is real. The financial crises, changing business landscape and operating dynamics have rendered many business models obsolete.

Organisations throughout the world are plunged into turbulent, unfamiliar and savage environments and threats similar to those faced by the military.

Rapid changes spurred by technology, social media, population bulges, movements of people, economic shocks, climate changes, inclement weather patterns, new social and economic pressures are all unsettling and they are apt descriptors of the VUCA climatic conditions. This new normal is the reality we have to live with and the space that we have to work with.

Such are the times that best suit those who are willing to take responsibility and unleash their greatness. It is not a time for those who want to succeed by doing nothing.

Silver Bullet

The idea of a silver bullet comes from folklore where a bullet cast from silver is the one solution and weapon for everything. The silver bullet was meant to be effective against a werewolf and other monsters.

In business and ordinary life, this dangerous myth persists.

Many are desperately looking for a silver bullet — the one solution that cures everything and addresses every challenge. In a VUCA environment, which is our new normal, the best way to be tormented is to think that there is one person who is responsible for all the ills and only one solution that will change everything and deliver all of us to paradise.

Such thinking is shallow, frustrating and dangerous. There is no silver bullet except in folklore and bedtime stories. Rest it well in your mind that there is no silver bullet coming from anywhere, minted for all your solutions.

If anything, the silver bullet is not “out there” but you are the silver bullet.

What you do makes a difference. Stop complaining and start contributing to the solution. Instead of blaming, take responsibility.

Instead of being a critic be a participant. Find the good and support it. Take action; be involved, you have a part to play in bringing solutions. You cannot just stand as a passenger and yawn as a yo-yo.

In times like these, the new normal, you cannot just stand there as a victim, wailing daily, blaming perennially and thinking that someone somewhere has the solution to all your problems.

No one is hiding away a solution from you to deliberately frustrate you. You are the silver bullet, and what you do make all the difference.

Affect positively your spheres of influence. No one is too small to make a difference in their area of concern.

Faith and Fiction

Make no mistake, VUCA times are real, painful, challenging and tough.

The new normal is not child’s play. It has many, many casualties. These are not the times to laugh as what you may presume to be other people’s ineptitude. Be willing to face the brutal facts and challenges of the present. Embrace a big faith and bold vision.

See possibilities beyond your current challenges. This too shall pass. Vision cannot be imprisoned and what you are going through is not all that is going on. What is going on in your mind is more important than what is going on around you. Think big and far into the future. Faith will carry you towards your vision. Make the vision big, bold and clear.

When you have something yet to do, you can persist with determination and resolve.

You can wake up every day to make another attempt. Never laugh at a person who has a vision and is working on it regardless of their current status.

Small today does not mean small forever.

Inside every struggling business there is a global enterprise straining for release. Inside every unsettled mind, there are possibilities of greatness beyond your wildest imagination. VUCA times are also times of unprecedented opportunity.

Do not lose your vision or fighting urge. Your mindset is critical. It is tough, rough, but do not laugh. Keep focused and seeing possibilities. One step a day is all you should ask for.

In VUCA times, the new normal, you may not move as fast as you did in the past. Stop fantasising. Do not give up. Do not be dismayed and do not lose courage or hope. Vision gives you staying power. Vision is not fiction.

Be Agile

Someone once remarked that some people’s minds are like concrete — thoroughly mixed up and set.

That certainly is a description of your mind. Times like these are not of those who resist change and want everything to be neat, predictable and as good as it was in the past.

The new normal is a totally new state. There is no way that the past can ever come back. Refuse to be a prisoner of the past and a victim of the present. Do not just sit dejected in the past and blindly complain about the present.

Wake up and smell the coffee. Open your eyes to fresh possibilities. In areas where you need to change — change. You cannot keep doing what no longer works. Learn daily and keep moving. What matters most must never be at the mercy of what matters most.

The good of the many must never be sacrificed for the comfort of the few. Think creatively, act rationally and talk responsibly. Think and act with courage. Thinking alone is not enough, you have to act. Be agile and creative. Your spirit is more powerful than your body.

Your mind is more creative than your estimate.

One idea acted upon is better than a volley of a thousand complaints. Join the crusade of doer and visionaries. Unleash your greatness!

Milton Kamwendo is an international transformational and inspirational speaker, author and coach. He is a strategy, innovation, team-building and leadership facilitator, whose life purpose is to inspire people to be great. Feedback: [email protected], Twitter @MiltonKamwendo and WhatsApp +263772422634

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