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Jensen Consulting Blog

March 9, 2013
Written By: Jensen Consulting Admin

The winter issue of Consultations is out.  Check out stories on Leverage, Strategic Alliances and Leadership Observations from Russell Jensen.

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January 17, 2013
Written By: Russell Jensen


We did things a bit differently at one of our Executive Roundtable sessions in December. Joe Heffernan, president of First American Wealth Management, gave a fascinating presentation on “What in the World is Going On?”. Joe brings a passion for history and an interest in economics that helps his clients protect and grow their assets. He led our group of executives through an interesting discussion of the most significant transitions shaping the world, past and present, and the likely impact they’ll have on our future.

Joe used an acronym that resonated with the group, VUCA, which stands for– Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. Our group agreed that the world is becoming increasingly complex requiring deeper strategic thinking in business, education and other sectors, and talked about how uncertainty and complexity were impacting their ability to make decisions and compete.

We’ve walked along side our clients as they have experienced the VUCA phenomenon over the past few years. Many of our clients fit the broad “mid-market” definition, and it’s been interesting to watch them learn and adjust to a world with more volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. In general I’d say we’ve seen our clients, by and large, shifting from defense to offense over the past year. After allowing VUCA to shelve long term planning and making significant strategic bets, it seems most of our clients are back in the game. They’ve kept their powder dry long enough, and in spite of VUCA are again thinking and acting with a longer-term focus. The difference we see now is a much stronger and broader emphasis on understanding and managing risk. Leaders are also attending more closely to world events that will impact their business and industry, to be better prepared to respond quickly to significant changes.

So Happy VUCA Year! You might want to make some different resolutions this year. 

September 12, 2012
Written By: Pete Petersen

Occasionally I find a great editorial that genuinely gets me excited; one of those that I forward to 35-40 people that might share my enthusiasm. Yesterday was the day; a New York Times article written by Thomas Friedman.

In a nutshell Friedman said that the phrase currently used by President Obama and first minted by Bill Clinton in 1992 — that if you just “work hard and play by the rules” you should expect that the American system will deliver you a decent life and a chance for your children to have a better one ... is out of date. The truth, he says is that if you want a decent job that will lead to a decent life today you have to work harder, regularly reinvent yourself, obtain at least some form of postsecondary education, make sure that you’re engaged in lifelong learning and play by the rules. The reason, Friedman goes on to say, is that the world of 1992 is gone. Technology and globalization are wiping out lower-skilled jobs faster, while steadily raising the skill level required for new jobs. More than ever now, lifelong learning is the key to getting into, and staying in, the middle class.

I thought to myself ... Friedman is spot on. Workers, students and our children do need to do more to compete in the future. Then I began to think: am I reinventing myself, am I continuing to learn, am I working harder and am I adapting to the changing marketplace? I didn’t like all my answers.  Do we hit a point in our careers that we think are exempt from challenging personal growth? Where as leaders we think that reinvention and personal development is only for the people that work for us or the other person?

I think that may often be the case but the reality is that just “working hard and playing by the rules" is outdated for all of us.

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