Flexible leadership: why and how

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World arround you is constantly changing. You, as a leader, must not only adapt to it, but also come up with new solutions and inspire your team while doing it. Crazy, scary and tiring, isn't it?
What if you could play and feel focused but relaxed, while doing that?
“CHANGE! THE VUCA WORLD IS HERE! ”

Further in this article find out what VUCA world is, how it impacts your leadership and how you can use it to become even stronger leader.

If you are a team or company leader, the sentence above will probably sound scary and even unpleasant to you. Is it so?
Allow me to thicken the paint from the very beginning. VUCA world is not just outside. It's also inside. In your office, in your company, in your team.

VUCA World is a term that was first used in the military during the Cold War and returned to focus because of the events of September 11th. The concept of VUCA world means: V= volatile, U = uncertain, C = complex and A = ambiguous.
Everything is changing very fast. What was working well yesterday is not working at all today. Rules of busness world are changing constantly.  There are complex connections that works like butterfly effect arround the world and you cant predict all of them.

The four Dimensions of VUCA explained by Jeroen Kraaijenbrink



















Around 2016. (Brexit, D.Trump, global warming, etc.) business world returned to this description and 2020. is like a cherry on the cake for it. No one doubts that VUCA's world theory is a reality for today and especially in a business context.

As early back in 2017, Forbes writes that “Business is not running as usual. Leaders must deal with growing uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity in their decision-making environments. CEOs have little idea what to expect in terms of health care policy, financial transactions, national security, and global trade—all of vital importance to themselves, their employees, and their stakeholders.. ”
The volatile, ambiguous, and unpredictable business world demands flexible and powerful leadership. What does it mean and

what does it mean to be a VUCA world leader?

The changing and unpredictable environment, only in the short term, is a daunting and complex element. In the long run, on the contrary, it is a wonderful reason for growth and new, ingenious ideas! It is in the environment where everything does not work as planned where new solutions, improved business strategies and new collaborations arises.

Version 2.0 of VUCA theory says:
V = vision. Today's leader must have a clear vision that sees through the chaos that surrounds him. It is often called the company's internal compass, which always shows where the north is. Know what the main goal, mission and vision is. The chaos around you can change ways to achieve it, but it must not affect the vision at its root.
U = understanding. The leader must have a deep understanding of the company's and the team's capabilities - both strengths and weaknesses. Of particular importance in this context is the diversity of information and views, not just the kind of information that confirms the leader's own idea or point of view. It is important to spend time everywhere that affects the business - in customer service, warehouses, with cooperation partners, etc. See and understand the whole company.
C = courage. Now more than ever, a leader must be brave and able to make bold decisions in this changing and chaotic environment. You have to take risks, sometimes you have to go against the usual and dare to stand out. Leader must not pretend that nothing is happening and stick to the old management methods. The biggest risk actually is not to take a risk at all.
A = adaptability. This is a time when leader must be flexible and adaptive to the changes that are constantly taking place around, within the company and within the team. Changes on the outside affect everyone on the inside. And this effect, in turn, creates a change internally. Rapid adaptation to the new situation, the ability to change strategies and tactics and to learn from mistakes are extremely valuable and necessary skills.

“With external volatility the prevalent characteristic these days, business leaders who stay focused on their mission and values and have the courage to deploy bold strategies building on their strengths will be the winners. Those who abandon core values or lock themselves into fixed positions and fail to adapt will wind up the losers.” Bill George - senior fellow at Harvard Business School, former chair and CEO of Medtronic, and author of Discover Your True North
How to become a flexible and courageous leader?

It is relatively easy to understand and accept what the theory says about the VUCA world and the leadership in it. However, it is much more difficult to practice it into your life as a leader.
How do I identify whether I am a flexible leader? Where is the boundary between courageous, cowardly, and reckless decisions? How and when to train my leadership skills in an environment that requires so much energy, time and work? How to be an inspiring leader when the changes in the environment are also frightening and there is not one right answer?

In our experience, the use of improvisation principles helps to form the improviser's mindset in leaders. The principles of improvisation are explained in PLAY! model created by Raymond Van Driel
PRESENCE
Presence. Be present at this moment. Be here and now.
LEAP into it
Take a bold step, take action! Experimenting. Allow yourself to make mistakes to find solutions faster and move forward. Do, not just think. Build the plane while flying in it!
ADAPTIVENESS
Adaptation. Be open to everything that happens around you. Allow yourself and your usual way of working to change.
YES, AND
Say Yes to the new and the unexpected, and form on different ideas.
Make your partners and team look good
! Impact
Dare. Be brave, passionate, and involved with all 100 in the process described in the 4 points above.

Applied improvisation training for leaders and managers improves the improviser's mindset in practice. This helps to successfully use leaders’ knowledge and strengths to triumph in VUCA's global challenges. 

This is your time to become courageous and flexible leader!


So, what do you say. Do you wan't to respond to VUCA with PLAY! ? :)
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