VUCA & Co – was and is already enough to read and hear about it. There are hardly any articles that do not deal with the topics of digitization, disruptive change, transformation, industry and work 4.0 and similar. Innumerable key notes, podcasts and videos are devoted to highlighting the necessity and urgency of change and reorientation. All sources agree that action is needed now.
Small Gallic villages in deep sleep
It seems strange that in our role as Future Guides we sometimes encounter organizations where time seems to stand still. They are still busy optimizing processes. Or they are taking care of filling the position of a sales representative. Perhaps also ensuring that the financing of the new building and its timely implementation is secured.
Digitization? Yes, I’ve heard of it. It will certainly come, but now we have our hands full with the operative business. Qualification of managers and employees and their preparation for the future? When is that going to fit in? Develop a strategy for the future when you are already dependent on your investor and heavily externally controlled? Maybe next year.
This VUCA stuff still has time. It doesn’t go that fast. After all, it’s not the first change you’ve mastered. Back to day-to-day business, that’s where the money is earned.
Time to wake up
In fact, we still encounter such an attitude in medium-sized companies. Here the “mind” reflects a supposedly (still) intact world and thus confirms that management and some experienced entrepreneurs prefer to stay in the comfort zone instead of travelling into the future. After all, there is still so much to do in the here and now. And what is to come is so uncertain, so little tangible.
That is of course a tragic misjudgment. Because the upcoming change is not carved out of the wood like those of the last decades. It is comprehensive and sustainable. It will cover many, in fact, all areas at the same time. Perhaps no stone will remain on the other. It would be good to be at least a bit prepared.
And at the same time the transformation has already begun. There is not much time left for postponement.
A salutary shock is expected
In this bottleneck situation, we opted for “shock therapy” for a customer. With the aim of moving the “mind” away from its comfort zone and towards a growth zone. The way there, as performance management shows, initially leads through the fear or panic zone. This is where the “mindset” is challenged to the full and hopefully realigned.
What does this look like in practice?
We reach this switch at the customer in question by setting up a “future conference”. The experienced managers are first allowed to settle easy in the comfort zone and gather strength for the subsequent disruption. In the first station, they can reflect on their strengths and become aware of their pride in what already exists.
Then we send them on a journey into the future, during which they are confronted with a multitude of potential changes in a short time. Multimedia and relentless. Usually a shock occurs.
We expect this to happen in order to guide the participants through the change curve.
Short-term therapy for the mindset
In the following unit we deepen some topics purposefully with the participants. We put our finger in the wound again. As a rule, the healing impulse does not fail, and rational and emotional acceptance comes about – of VUCA.
Although the managers of the first and second line of companies have already dealt with the theory of VUCA & Co. in many cases, the actual identification with this topic usually takes place here. Then the “mindset” simply must be part of the transformation, too.
Our experience is that it does. It is indeed astonishing that we are always experiencing a change here.
This also supports the next steps: the sketch of the potential northern star or target image of the own organization as well as first ideas for strategic approaches and measures in the area of culture and development.
Back at your desk, you then look at the cube created at the Future Conference, usually accompanied by the idea of “VUCA – time to act”.