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Column: Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

By Sarah Medcraf

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In today's fast-paced business landscape, businesses across the country are struggling with unprecedented challenges stemming from a VUCA world. VUCA, meaning Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous is a term that was devised by the U.S. Army War College in the 1990s but has since been related to wise and agile leadership.

It's important to be flexible in business and change direction depending on circumstances.
It's important to be flexible in business and change direction depending on circumstances.

It refers to the rapid and unpredictable changes in markets, consumer preferences, and regulations.

Of course, in our case we can add politics, word conflicts and global pandemics to that too.

As leaders we need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and rather than waiting for ideal trading conditions, we must embrace these realities and take proactive steps to thrive in an evolving environment.

The uncertainty of this environment, however, leaves businesses looking for some form of stability. But, the complexity of the interconnection of running a business in today’s world, means they will likely not find it.

Despite these difficult obstacles, businesses are able to benefit by embracing the VUCA concept.

Being adaptable is a crucial trait for resilience – enabling leaders to pivot quickly in response to change.

We’ve often talked about transforming challenges into opportunities and we witnessed a lot of examples during covid. Businesses who can view the challenges through this lens, will gain a competitive edge.

Making strategic decisions is necessary to navigate the VUCA word. It is complex, it is difficult. But if we can step aside to see the wood from the trees we can view data and scenario plan and make informed choices.

Moray Chamber of Commerce's Sarah Medcraf.
Moray Chamber of Commerce's Sarah Medcraf.

Building resilient networks becomes vital in mitigating risks. By developing partnerships and diversifying relationships, businesses can enhance their ability to endure external shocks and disruptions, protecting their operations and maintaining continuity. It is also crucial to ensure that the culture within a business is right. The pivotal role that culture plays is too important to be overlooked. Leaders must instil a mindset of lifelong learning, adaptability, and resilience amongst their teams.

So, don’t wait for better trading conditions. I urge you to adapt and act, accept that the world is ever-changing and make the right decisions, at the right time, for the right reasons.

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