Reframing The Uncertainty And Volatility Of Change

“When people in an organization have an implicit understanding of the world around them, they make a thousand better decision every day.” “A thousand better decisions can collectively add up to massive change.”  -Dev Patnaik Wired to Care

In our quest to diminish and mitigate uncertainty, ambiguity and even risk in our organizations, leaders can serve as mama bears protecting, insulating and shielding their people and organizations from the volatility of a changing world and the disruption that it invites. We search for safety in the known and replication of ‘best practices’ to further distance ourselves from the turbulence created by the speed of change swirling around us. As an organization, we circle our wagons against the encroachment of this VUCA world that threatens to unsettle the balance and security we’ve created.

Unfortunately, this can lead to serious organizational ramifications down the road…

First, the inability to uninsulate ourselves and our organizations not only blinds us to the new opportunities that unfold and become accessible during these times of rapid change, but causes a deteriorating alignment between our organization and the society that is shifting around us. A misalignment that often erodes into unexpected disruption or eventual irrelevance and obsolescence.

Second, the cocoon of safety that we’ve determined to create in order to better protect our individuals and organizations from the volatility and uncertainty of this shifting world often becomes the point of weakness that diminishes capacity and ongoing growth. The more we shield our people and organizations from the ongoing stresses of change as an ongoing occurrence, the more difficult the impact of change becomes and the more we ground ourselves in inertia and status quo. Instead of this protective posture providing security and strength, it actually creates frailty and weakness across the entirety of the organization.

To better equip our people and organizations to deal with the uncertainty and volatility of change, we are going to need to reframe our perspective…

We are going to have to make a shift not only in how we deal with the stresses and effects of change, but how important it will be to engage a better awareness of the changes that are occurring in the world around us. Otherwise, we will continue to design systems that are misaligned and ineffective for our people and our organization.

The work of today’s modern leader, is not only learning how to better equip their people and organizations to deal with the panacea of challenges that are brought on by the new pace of change, but reframing our perspective towards this process to strengthen our organization to the stresses these challenges will bring forth.

As well as understanding not only what a reframe is, but when it is necessary and needed.

Dev Patnaik shares in Wired to Care that, “A reframe is more than an insight or an interesting nugget of data. It’a fundamental shift in thinking about how the world works. A reframe doesn’t just shed light on a situation – it invalidates previous models for how the world works.”

He adds, “A reframe can be a momentous, disorienting experience.  That’s because it’s so far removed from our own experiences.” Or as he puts forth, “a reframe flips the entire world on its head.”

Unfortunately, in many instances to unentangle ourselves from the stasis and status quo in which we find ourselves embedded, a reframe is necessary for an organization to better see and align with a world that is shifting in an unexpected and exponential manner.

And sometimes, if we really want to tap into the opportunity that chaos and this VUCA world is invoking, we need to “flip the entire world on its head.”

It is only in this flip, that the opportunity that lies before us finally becomes apparent…

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