VUCA and rapid changes

Dear you!

Thank you 2020 for the lesson in VUCA leadership.
How to deal with a changing world has been a theme forever. 2500 years ago, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus allegedly said that it is impossible for the same man to step into the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man. The meaning is that all of us are changing all the time and so is the world around us, something that obviously also was a subject for discussion around the year 500 BC.

Today we talk about living in a VUCA-world (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity), i.e. a world were very little can be predicted and where all of us need to be adaptable at any time.
In 2020 we’ve truly been tested on our flexibility and perseverance. People everywhere have demonstrated again and again how we can adapt and conquer, take in new ways of working and new technologies overnight. Despite the hardship and without neglecting the suffering, we also have to appreciate how 2020 forced many of us out of our comfort zones. For us, 2020 has been a year of new customers, lifting and solidifying business with existing customers, moving some of our trainings online and writing a book. For all of that we are grateful. So despite the tough challenges we dare to say: Thank you 2020.

Ledership tip: Judge wisely and carefully
In uncertain times it’s easy to make mistakes, wrong assessments or poor choices. It is also tempting to judge others harshly on how they lead in such times. None of us have ever faced a situation like COVID-19 before with its’ unpredictability, rapid changes and game changing ways. Across the board, from people in public office to your neighbour in the management team it’s both healthy and smart business to assume that everybody does their best. You probably would have done things differently than your Marketing Manager or the Head of IT or even your boss, but that’s their job and you have yours. When under pressure most of us have a tendency to look outside ourselves for faults. Blame games, whether lighter or heavier, are never good for business. So word of caution here: Keeping yourself and your judgements in check will increase the performance of the entire team that you are part of – and make you a true role model for the best behavior. That way you will be a more inspiring and better performing leader yourself.

Case: Keep your stars in check to play for the team
New Zealand National Rugby team, also known as The All Blacks, are the most successful international sports team of all-time with a winning percentage of 77.41% over 580 Tests (1903-2019). If you don’t believe us, check out their website Below is a piece from Financial Times June 23rd 2017, analyzing why the team keeps beating other teams from much larger nations with a potentially higher talent pool and bigger budgets. One of the key elements behind the success was found to be how The All Blacks insist on everybody playing for the team rather than promoting themselves. In a time of divas, talent programs and corporate stars it’s interesting to see the effect of doing just the opposite: Making sure that no one is above anyone else on a team.
Far too often we meet management teams that allow individual(s) to spread negative energy or run solo, just because they are seen as top performers. This way the team neglects or underestimates how such people tend to negatively influence the performance of the rest of the team.
What can you do yourself to avoid this? Firstly, make sure you always play for team yourself. Secondly, give feed forward to those who don’t. Have the courage to address as a team if somebody is playing for themselves and suggest other ways. If you are responsible for a management team yourself, check that all on the team are playing for the team. Confront those who don’t, and never hesitate to change your line-up to suit the challenge and goals.
Teams outperform individuals again and again. As leaders we have an obligation to build them, support them and grow them. In the end that’s how your organization will prosper.

Update on our new book
We are so honoured at the positive reception of our latest book, ”Other peoples’ money and other people’s lives – leadership and execution in turbulent times”. We’ve received very nice reviews – both in magazines, by bloggers and most importantly by many of you. Thank you for your continued support and your highly valued feedback. That’s how we stay sharp and that’s how we continue to grow – together.

As a small sign of appreciation, we’ve twisted the arm of our publisher and gotten the discount code from the book launch reopened for 2 weeks. It may be the Christmas present for someone dear who could use a little inspiration or a little something to spark new energy into your own leadership. The perfect thing for anyone who wants to meet 2021 updated on leadership tools and trends.

From December 14th to 31st you can use the code Fireandshield2 to get 20% and free shipping – see more here:

View our Previous Books

Winning bubbles:
Feedback on our website.

Earlier this year we’ve relaunched our website and many of you were kind enough to give us some inputs and feedback. Thank you for that.
We’ve taken it in, redesigned the front page, and are now ready to take one more inputs.

So please answer a few questions following the link below. We will draw a winner for 3 bottles of bubbles among those who answer before January 4th. Thanks in advance for your time and effort.

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Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year. We look forward to facing the challenges and opportunities of 2021 together.

Stay well and stay safe.

Kindest regards
Elize & Johnny