Last summer, we took a road trip from San Francisco, through Zion, Bryce, and on to Telluride, Colorado. While in Telluride, we took a fly fishing lesson from Marty at Telluride Fly Fishers. Marty was a great guide and very patient with this city girl! I had piled on several layers of clothes in anticipation of wide temperature swings in the Rockies.
It is so easy to make excuses when things don't turn out as you planned. How often are you tempted to point the finger of blame? As an executive leadership coach, I have worked with leaders who have gotten in the bad habit of blaming others and are surprised when they don't get the results that they want.
I recently began teaching in the MBA program at Golden Gate University. Being a full time executive leadership consultant and part-time professor forces me to stay current with leadership research and weave that research into a pragmatic solution for clients and business school students.
Okay, I admit it. I am a fair weather San Francisco Giants fan. I tuned in to the team in the last weeks of the series as they began their championship playoffs. I found myself playing catch up, learning the names and stories of the players. All of a sudden I really cared. As the Giants came closer and closer to winning the World Series, a goal that eluded them for 56 years, I put on my Tangle Doctor hat. How did the team's management orchestrate this turnaround? What can business leaders learn from a team that seemed so unlikely to win a championship trophy?
I talked about the volatility, uncertainty, and complexity in previous posts. In this post I discuss ambiguity, the fourth element of VUCA. In my executive coaching practice, I have encountered business leaders who have varying degrees of comfort with ambiguity. When things are ambiguous, they are not clear. Sometimes the situation itself is unclear. Sometimes the problem and/or solution are both unclear. Often, the very business environment itself is ambiguous. When leaders are not clear about what a particular event or situation means, they become frozen and cannot make decisions. For instance, in our current financial environment, we know that the Federal government has released funds to banks. What is unclear right now is how those funds will be disbursed, or if they will be disbursed, the level of risk, and if the stimulus packages will even work.