Is AI coming for you and your job? PART 2—Thriving in a VUCA world.
We experience our VUCA world as Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous.
Part 1 of "Is AI coming for you and your job?" (add URL) suggested the best approach is to remain highly adaptable and to upskill continually.
Yet, even if you are highly adaptable:
"There is no such thing as a digital native" (Financial Times 16th May 2023). What it means to be a digital native is changing so rapidly as to be breath-taking—for example, growing up with a tablet, a smartphone, and now GPT 3, 4, and Google’s Bard may make you feel secure and able to cope with whatever new tech throws at you. But this could be a false assumption.
Here's what VUCA means in more detail:
Source: Freely adapted from Nathan Bennett and G. James Lemoine in the Harvard Business Review (2014 https://hbr.org/2014/01/what-vuca-really-means-for-you)
Even “digital natives” can struggle with the pace of change implied by VUCA. The evidence on mental health problems amongst young people, for example, suggests that ever more immersive technology can link to a lack of attention, behaviour disorders and other issues.
Problematic smartphone usage, for instance, by young people, is associated with depression, anxiety, stress, poor sleep quality and decreased educational attainment. Yet, these very people are supposed to be able to cope with such technology.
There are three main ways to manage and thrive in a VUCA world. The first is to develop resilience. The second is to reframe thinking. The third is to hone learning agility.
Build your resilience to handle the volatility and uncertainty of a VUCA world. Successful twenty-first-century work performance will demand greater risk tolerance, and you will almost certainly encounter failures.
Resilient individuals who thrive in VUCA environments will likely be collaborative, comfortable with ambiguity and change, and develop their thinking skills. Work on staying adaptable by using emotional intelligence and the ability to bounce back from setbacks. In particular, when faced with adversity, practise staying calm and focused.
This ensures you remain comfortable with data analysis, brainstorming, and empathy—giving and receiving it. Polish your communication skills for clarity.
Turn re-framing into a fun experience and avoid it becoming a heavy burden.
HONE LEARNING AGILITY
This may be the most critical response you can develop in a VUCA world. Here are nine ways to hone your learning.
1. Embrace a Growth Mindset:
View all challenges as opportunities for growth rather than obstacles. Embrace a positive attitude toward learning and trust your natural ability to develop new skills and knowledge.
2. Cultivate Curiosity: Stay curious and foster a natural inclination to explore and discover. Ask questions, and seek new perspectives. Try to approach your learning with a sense of wonder. This mindset can help you adapt to the complexity and ambiguity of the world around you.
3. Continuous Learning: If you still need to do so, commit to lifelong learning. Develop a habit of regularly acquiring new knowledge and skills. Stay updated with your field's latest trends, technologies, and developments. Take responsibility for self-directed learning. Don’t wait for your employer to deliver on this. That might mean taking online courses, attending workshops or conferences, and reading publications in your areas of interest.
4. Diversify Learning Approaches: Actively explore different learning methods and techniques. Everyone has different learning preferences, so experiment with different approaches, such as visual learning, auditory learning, hands-on practice, group discussions, or online resources. Discover what works best for you and leverage it to enhance your learning experience.
5. Build a Network: Build your network and stay in touch with diverse and knowledgeable individuals. Engage in discussions, collaborate on projects, and seek mentors from experts in your field. A strong network can provide valuable insights, feedback, and support, and expand learning opportunities.
6. Reflect and Apply: Don’t get stuck with passive learning. Regularly reflect on your learning experiences and apply what you've learned in real-life situations. Actively set out to find opportunities to practice and reinforce your knowledge. Reflection helps consolidate your learning and allows you to refine your understanding.
7. Embrace Technology: Keep leveraging the endless flow of new technology tools and platforms. These will enhance your learning. Take advantage of online learning platforms, educational apps, and digital resources. These can help you access a wide range of information, connect with experts worldwide, and stay updated with emerging technologies relevant to your field.
8. Develop Critical Thinking Skills: Cultivate critical thinking skills to navigate complexity and ambiguity. Get good at analysing information, evaluating evidence, and thinking logically. To develop your ability to handle complex situations, practice problem-solving and decision-making in diverse contexts.
9. Balance Focus and Flexibility: Strike a balance between focus and flexibility. While it's important to specialise and develop expertise in certain areas, remain open to new ideas and adapt your knowledge and skills as the world evolves.
Improving your learning ability is an ongoing process.
Embrace a growth mindset, stay curious, and commit to continuous learning.
By developing these habits, you'll be better equipped to thrive in a VUCA world.
Sources J. Kettering, Tactics to Adapt Your Business to a VUCA World, Holaspirit, July 20, 2021 Nathan Bennett and G. James Lemoine in the Harvard Business Review (2014 https://hbr.org/2014/01/what-vuca-really-means-for-you)