Overcoming Challenges in the VUCA World


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Overcoming Challenges in the VUCA World

HCS Monthly Insights (February 2016)


Ramesh Profile





By Ramesh Shahdadpuri (Programme Director, HCS)


In the Year of the Monkey, we should be prepared for twists and turns.  Globally and regionally, we are already seeing economic uncertainties.  In Singapore, we face domestic socio-political challenges while external events will have significant impact as we greatly depend on the international flows of trade, services and investments for our prosperity.

We now live in a “V-U-C-Aworld.  The new normal is characterised by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.   While this sounds intimidating, organisations and individuals can overcome the challenges which lie ahead.  This will require agility, resilience and a “growth” mindset.

Agility means being nimble, with leaders having the ability to anticipate change, execute strategies and attain high levels of individual and organisational performance.  High performance results are only possible when leaders are effective people managers. 

Today, good people management means being able to engage a multigenerational workforce, work collaboratively in teams and having cultural intelligence to work across boundaries and borders.   Managers and staff must by savvy with the use of intelligent machines, networks and analytics to thrive in the changing digital workplace.  Leaders must have strategic vision and execution capabilities to navigate beyond traditional industry structures to create new business models.

For individuals, it is important to develop personal resilience and growth mindsets.  Resilience is the mental and physical ability to deal with the vagaries in our work and personal lives with equanimity and resolve.  Progressive organisations recognise the importance of their human capital and invest in people development, including soft skills training.   Google is one such example.  Its ”Search Inside Yourself” programme, which is now available to anyone,  helps participants in their personal and professional growth, including building resilience.   This unique programme draws on cutting edge academic research and expert insights from the fields of emotional intelligence, neuroscience and mindfulness.

“Growth mindset” is based on research by Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck.  Her work is inspiring as it shows that human intelligence is not fixed by formal education or age, but an individual’s abilities and talents can be developed over one’s lifetime.  What is essential is hard work, fortitude and the willingness to learn new things. Such a mindset includes overcoming setbacks along the way, and viewing failure as a stepping stone, not a millstone.

At Human Capital Singapore, we will be sharing more of our insights on the themes of V-U-C-A, people management, human capital, organisational agility, resilience, growth mindset and lifelong learning. 

We welcome you to share your views.