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Happy VUCA Year!
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. 

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