6 Areas of Focus for Boards in a VUCA Environment

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

I was honored to speak at the 7th Annual Conference of the Women on Boards Network (WOBN) Kenya on "Key Areas of Focus for Boards in a VUCA Environment."

VUCA describes the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous state which results from a crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. I had written an article some months ago on VUCA titled "Fragility to Agility: Leadership in the age of change." VUCA is an accurate description of what is happening in the global business and economic environments today.

Firstly, it is essential to emphasize that the board has an oversight role. While a crisis may necessitate an increased involvement of the board, it does not justify micro-managing. Secondly, a crisis does not define the board's function, but the crisis unveils the board's functioning, whether effective or not. Here are some areas of focus for boards in a VUCA environment. I hope you find these useful as most, if not all, boards are wadding through the COVID-19-induced VUCA environment.

A – Agility & Adaptability – ensure that your company is enabled to pivot during a crisis by being a "Velcro organization."

B - Board Behaviour – board dynamics and engagement with management will determine how the company performs in a crisis

C - Corporate Communication – communication must be clear, concise, complete, continuous, consistent, and from a credible source.

D – Digital Disruption – boards should embrace and support management to provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities. Digitalization is no longer just a buzz word.

E - Employee Engagement – Boards should ensure that management creates an environment of psychological safety for employees to be productive.

F - Financial Fortitude – Re-evaluate liquidity sources, capital, and revenue expenditure to stay afloat.

What are your experiences in leading through volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity? Let me know in the comment what other areas the board needs to focus on. If you are on a board struggling with any of these areas, board leadership training or coaching should be explored, and I could help.

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