How can we future-proof our people in this VUCA world?

  • Author: Chot Reyes
  • December 26, 2019
Chot Reyes

Straight answer: we can’t. But we can make them future-ready.

Change. It is here. It is the reality. In these increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous (VUCA) times, we are challenged to solve a problem even when we do not understand it well enough to produce a viable solution. We are challenged to be prepared for things no one can even predict.

As a basketball coach, I used to take pride in my ability to prepare my team for a game – scouting an opponent, knowing their individual and team tendencies; studying their coach; heck, we even analyzed the referees’ individual tendencies! Today we are being asked to prepare for a game – we do not know when, or where, or sometimes even against whom – just that it will be played for sure.

To further complicate matters, even before we can get comfortable with change, we now see that ‘change is changing.’

I checked the numbers. This year alone, in the last 25 talks or workshops I did with my clients, 10 were directly about change, with titles ranging from ‘Innovate to Win’ for a pharma company, ‘Game Changers’ for a finance group, ‘Transformation’ for a bank, and ‘Future Readiness’ for a BPO. 8 were for Coaching and Leadership Development, but with adapting to change, agile management, and innovation as sub-themes. The other 7 were about teamwork, synergy, and personal best messaging. That’s almost 75% of the last 25 of my engagements this past year that were about change.

So if we can’t future-proof our organization, how can we at least make our people future-ready? To my mind, it begins with the ABCs:

  1. AWARENESS – It all begins with you, the leader. How aware are you of the need to prepare your people and your organization for change? More importantly, how aware are you of your readiness to adapt to this world? Absent this awareness there can be no progress. How agile, flexible, adaptable are you as a leader? The fixed mindset leader cannot survive VUCA. How about your people? Do you have the courage to admit that maybe you need some help in this regard?
  2. BUILD MENTALITY – Hopefully, this awareness leads to what I call a ‘Build’ mentality. Whether it’s growing your people’s skillset, deepening your talent bench, developing your teamwork – as a leader, it’s our job to equip our people with the necessary tools and skills to be future-fit. Conduct an honest assessment of your team. Where do they need improvement? What are the gaps in your organization? What do you need to build?
  3. COACHING CULTURE – It’s pretty simple, if you’re a sprinter preparing for the Olympics in 2020, and you’ve put in all the time and effort in strength, conditioning, and speed training (build mentality), will you wait 1 year or even 3 months to get feedback? Unfortunately, in most organisations where ‘coaching’ is only done during performance appraisal time, such is the case. We don’t have to belabor the value of real-time coaching in this fast-paced world. Thus, the best coaches are the executives and managers within the organization, provided they are willing and equipped. They are the ‘culture-carriers’ who will nurture this high performance environment where people are held accountable for delivering results while fostering a climate of full engagement, personal development and mutual support that will allow your team to be future-fit.

This, coupled with what I was seeing with our own employees, and my previous experience at the media network, prompted me to develop the #futurefit program (thanks coach Paul Ruiz for the name). As an executive coach, CEO, and business owner, my realization is that in these times our only real preparation is within. Expanding our knowledge, growing our skills, opening our minds. Not only do we need to be future-ready. We need to be future-fit.

The future-fit leader is an effective COACH; not only does agile, but is AGILE; and is a master TEAM-builder. The #futurefit program draws from my extensive experiences as a Professional Basketball Coach, a practicing external Executive Coach, an internal corporate coach as a CEO and entrepreneur. It lays the foundation for the AGILE framework for those who are in the process of, or thinking about, going AGILE in their organizations. Finally, it offers a proprietary model for building high performing TEAMS, developed over 25 years of coaching at the highest levels of sports.

Coaching. Agile. Teams.

Click here to check out the original article posted on LinkedIn