More serenity in times of crisis

Uncertain and turbulent times? Constantly new challenges at work? Experts describe the changes in today's world with the VUCA model. We explain what's behind it - and how you can master all hurdles calmly and confidently.

Mavie editorial team19/07/2023


VUCA stands for crisis

VUCA... what? What does the VUCA model mean? What do the four letters stand for? Answer: The abbreviation comes from the business jargon of the 1980s. There are four words behind “VUCA”: “Volatility”, “Uncertainty”, “Complexity” and “Ambiguity”.

These four terms have been back in our consciousness since the Covid pandemic at the latest and they describe the phenomena we are confronted with in uncertain times and crises in the business world: Conditions in the workplace are constantly changing. Nobody really knows what to expect. The problems are complex and intricate. Perceived truths come across as contradictory.

More serenity: 4 strategies against VUCA hurdles

But - and this is the good news - even if things are turbulent all around, every VUCA phenomenon can always be countered with a positive impulse. And as a result, you become more resilient, more capable of acting and more relaxed.
Serenity strategy 1: Score points with vision in a volatile work environment
Today like this, tomorrow like this: work orders and customer requirements are constantly changing. Workload fluctuates, sometimes it's stressful, other times it's worryingly quiet. You can plan little and still have to be prepared for everything.
When there is high volatility in the workplace, it helps: develop visions – and then come up with a plan A, B, C and D. Those who have thought about what to do in the event of a crisis are better prepared for unusual events. If you have a course in mind, you can also cope better with course changes.
Serenity strategy 2: Active observation against uncertainty
No matter how much data and analysis there is, no one can predict with 100 percent certainty what the next fiscal quarter or year will be like. In uncertain times, there needs to be a deeper understanding of what is happening around.
In short: It takes vigilance and strong observation skills to perceive the first signals of change. Learn to endure the uncertainty and wait. Practice staying calm. The Polynesians, known for their navigational skills, show how it's done: They sail by sight. Translated into professional life, this means: feel your way forward step-by-step and welcome mistakes as opportunities for correction.
Serenity strategy 3: Solve complex problems with networked thinking
Complex situations cannot be explained by simple cause and effect principles. Networked thinking is required - and the willingness to try things out. But with all the openness that is needed, it is also important to have a clear goal and to set a desired result, otherwise you will get bogged down. Get different opinions and solutions in the team. Rely on constructive exchange and dialogue. And constantly evaluate: Does this point help us to achieve the desired result and to survive the crisis?
Serenity strategy 4: Recognize ambiguity - and accept it
Everything can be seen either way. It is always a question of point of view and worldview. Ambiguity refers to "ambiguity", but sometimes also "inconsistency" of statements, behavior and events. This disturbs our need for harmony and creates discomfort and stress in times of crisis, when one is already sitting on hot needles. The solution for going through crises at work more calmly: develop ambiguity tolerance through agility.
That means: Learn to recognize contradictions and ambiguities. Look carefully. Develop a both-and attitude. Accept that there are many different interpretations. This thinking will help you grow. Because it gives you the confidence to be able to solve any task as long as there is openness and a desire for further development.

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