(Title taken from New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman’s book, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations.)

Have you heard of VUCA? Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity?

It’s the in-vogue catchphrase used to describe our rapidly changing world and lives. In our view, it’s highly accurate. The speed, extent and unpredictability of change in this decade is unprecedented and exponential. So much so that McKinsey & Co have termed it the 4th industrial revolution.

However, this rapid change is not purely confined to technology. It also includes social and demographic change, in particular the rise of the millennials. It’s been predicted that by 2020, 50% of the workforce will be millennials, with their different approach to work shaping how organisations recruit and employees.

Alongside the excitement of fast innovation and change, there are some serious risks to consider. Businesses that can’t innovate fast enough risk being left behind, or replaced by a better business – one that can satisfy customer needs and deliver value in a significantly different way. Organisations will need to continuously restructure to keep apace or ahead both of technology advances and competitors.

Other risks relate to people. For many, the fast pace of technological change is likely to have detrimental effects on people’s ability to concentrate and focus. With decreased attention spans and a lack of focus comes stress and, for many, a feeling of overwhelm at work and in their personal lives. Ongoing changes in technology also require people to learn new technology competencies as well as maintain their day-to-day skill set. Juggling these sometimes conflicting demands can also contribute to the overwhelm.

How do organisations overcome these risks?

To survive and thrive, organisations need to be both resilient and agile, able to demonstrate a culture both of continuous and rapid innovation, high performance and sustained performance through rapid change.

Employees need high levels of resilience and wellbeing to be able to innovate and adapt, to maintain high levels of energy and sustain big picture thinking.

Helping organisations help their employees to maintain their wellbeing and productivity during these VUCA times is a priority for us at Umbrella.

To find out what we are thinking about how to do this, come along to our session.

Or book a session in house (contact Jacqui@umbrella.org.nz).