What are opportunities and risks in 2020s?

VUCA is an acronym and represents volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of general conditions and situations. The word was first used in 1987, but became popular in business environment in 2010s. This is because globalization, digitalization and technological advancements change business landscape and a lot of people feel that it is more difficult to predict in the future. Of course, we cannot control incidents around us, especially natural disasters, national policies and company performance, but it is better for us to train ourselves to enhance our resilience. For example, according to McKinsey report, the average life-span of companies listed in Standard & Poor’s 500 was 61 years in 1958, but it is less than 18 years, today. Standard & Poor’s 500 is one of criteria that shows how good company is. However, even if we work one of Standard & Poor’s 500 companies, it does not guarantee that we will be able to work in the same company for our entire life. In addition to this, Standard & Poor’s 500 companies are basically huge so that it is really difficult for each employee to save them through only his / her efforts. Thus, what we can control is to accept the fact that we will work more than the life-span of each company, and to educate ourselves for our better future.

Leadership is important in 2020s

When it comes to our training, what skill will we need to acquire? This is a really good question. Of course, there is no clear answer, but leadership could be a possible answer. There are several definitions or factors of leadership. We focus on an aspect in leadership in this article: Set or show the direction of each organization.

As we discussed above, it is too hard to set or show the direction since we live in “VUCA” world. Even though leaders set or show the direction, some people follow it, but others do not. Probably most of leaders are able to predict these reactions, which prevent them from showing the direction confidently and proactively.

However, without a clear direction, what do employee believe in? Even if a company had more than 10 employees, leaders are struggle to get all members moving in the same direction. If the number is 100, one thousand, ten thousand or 1 million, leaders face more challenges to get an organization go in the same direction. Even though how tough challenges are, leaders in big companies actually have done. We can see good examples of mission statement in big companies as follows.

  • Amazon: We aim to be Earth’s most customer centric company. Our mission is to continually raise the bar of the customer experience by using the internet and technology to help consumers find, discover and buy anything, and empower businesses and content creators to maximise their success.
  • Tesla: Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
  • Google: Our company mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Leadership is hard to acquire, but we have to take it more seriously in VUCA age.