Leadership in a VUCA World – Harish Manwani

Paul Gibbons on VUCA

Excerpts from Manwani’s talk.

….The dynamic and fast-changing nature of our world today is
best described by VUCA, a term coined by the US Army War
College. VUCA stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity
and Ambiguity….


The first of these megatrends is digitisation.
It is worthwhile to step back and look at the recent history of
human invention. The first telegraph machine was invented in
1838. Forty years later Alexander Graham Bell invented the
telephone. It took over another forty years for us to invent the
television and yet another forty to invent the silicon integrated
circuit chip in the 1960s.

Rise of the developing world

At the same time, there is another megatrend happening. The
world order is changing as economic power shifts from West to
East. According to a 2012 McKinsey study, it took Britain more
than 100 years to double its economic output per person during
its industrial revolution and the US later took more than 50
years to do the same. More than a century later, China and India
have doubled their GDP per capita in 12 and 16 years
respectively. Significantly, China and India accomplished this
while having about 100 times the population base as the US and
Britain did during their industrial revolutions. The report goes
on to state that “the two leading emerging economies are
experiencing roughly ten times the economic acceleration of
the Industrial Revolution, on 100 times the scale – resulting in
an economic force that is over 1,000 times as big.” And we are
just at the beginning of this massive transformation.


Section Six: Leadership in a VUCA World

However, winning in a VUCA world is not just about the
hardware. It is also about having new software – a new kind of
leadership that is values-led and purpose-driven and leaders
who can redefine the role of business in society.
To be values-led is more than simply putting your values down
on a piece of paper. It is about living and breathing those values
every day.


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