We live in VUCA world. VUCA, originally used by the military in the 1990s, stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. In addition to explaining today’s geopolitical world, VUCA is also a great description of today’s business world.
So how can employees find success and satisfaction while working in this VUCA business environment? As described in our book 3 + 4 = Success, a rich and rewarding career requires just three skills and four questions to ask yourself. Over the next few blog posts, we’ll briefly explore each of these skills and questions.
The first skill needed for success in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing business environment is the ability to think critically. The problem is most people take thinking for granted. In other words, many people don’t think about thinking!
There are many types of thinking. Future Work Skills 2020, a report from The Institute For The Future, points out several types of thinking needed for success in the year 2020:
Adaptive Thinking: proficiency at coming up with solutions beyond that
which is rule-based.
Computational Thinking: ability to translate vast amounts of data into
Cognitive Load Management: ability to filter information for importance.
Transdisciplinarity: ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines.
Did you ever think thinking was so complicated? Thinking “well” requires many “inputs.” For example, an article in Inc. magazine said the simplest way to get smarter is to be healthy. It’s hard to think when you’re not getting enough sleep, not eating correctly, and not working out.
Technology is having an impact on our ability to think deeply or to concentrate. Our ability to focus is severely hampered when we’re constantly checking on the latest "important" tweet or Facebook update. Technology is also ruining our ability to spell correctly and think creatively.
Are you a positive person? An optimist? That can help you think critically as research has shown people with a positive outlook on life are better thinkers than pessimists.
Thinking doesn’t just happen. Or maybe it does and that’s the problem. If you want to take your career to a new level, become proactive at improving your thinking ability. Schedule a regular time to just think about your work and your life.
In fact, why don’t you start now? Grab a fruit smoothie or some other healthy snack, turn off your smart phone (which is most likely not making you smarter, by the way), and spend some time contemplating how you can be a better thinker.
Darren K. Ford
I've enjoyed a great career. Worked in many different industries with great coworkers and customers. I talk to a lot of people while drinking a lot of coffee. I read constantly. From all of this, I have much to say.