For many years we have been hearing about the VUCA world, i.e. the changing, complex, uncertain and ambiguous world. Did you know that this acronym was created in the 80s to describe the Cold War? Yes, the term VUCA is over 30 years old! What do you think – does it still describe our reality?
What would you say if describing our world as “unstable” or “ambiguous” is no longer valid?
Consider this. As a manager, what adjectives would you use to describe 2020? I assume it would sound more blunt than “unstable” and “ambiguous” 🤯
It is obvious that our social, political, cultural and, above all, technological reality is completely different from the one in 1980s. What’s more, it is different from the 2019 “pre-pandemic” year.
I have some good news for all those of you who like acronyms. A new term has been born to describe the world today: it is the world of BANI.
What is BANI?
BANI is an English abbreviation for:
What exactly does BANI mean?
- World is Brittle: what happened on one day, will not necessarily be valid on the next one, and one small thing can have huge consequences. Think back to the onset of the pandemic and the changing rules and restrictions. Or look back at your assignment, project, or cross-team collaboration where the rules changed overnight. Only you know how difficult it is to manage a team (especially when managing communication) with constantly changing conditions.
- World is Anxious: the overwhelming information, we hear every day (most often pessimistic), intensifies the feeling of sadness, anxiety and depression. As a manager, you might face the challenge of helping your employees when they felt this way. As a leader, you play a huge role to ensure your team keeps their healthy level of mental well-being and a sense of security. The question is: how do you take care of these things for yourself?
- World is non-linear: impossible to estimate in advance with consequences we are not able to predict. An obvious example is the pandemic, where no one predicted the scale of coves-19 and its impact on business and each of us. When planning a change in your work, you definitely consider its consequences and impact on your team. How many times you discovered consequences along the way that you haven’t thought about before?
- World is incomprehensible: the unpredictable consequences result in a feeling of lack of meaning and logic. We don’t understand what is happening around us. Even if we have information and data, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we will find answers to our questions. At work, you mostly rely on information, data and facts. A true leader also uses his intuition, but even this, doesn’t guarantee that your decisions will be 100% accurate. You take a risk (which is great!), but you can never be sure of the outcome.
Can you navigate effectively in the BANI world?
Yes! It requires your commitment and motivation to help yourself and your team. Here are 4 ways to do so:
- Brittleness can be dealt with mental resilience, flexibility and adaptability.
- You can overcome anxiety with empathy, mindfulness, and emotional intelligence.
- Nonlinearity can be resolved by putting change into context and being agile.
- Incomprehensibly can be resolved with transparency, intuition and risk-taking.
Sounds like mission impossible?
You can start by taking the first step to effectively lead in the BANI world.
ACCEPT the fact that our present (and future) reality is brittle, anxious, non-linear and incomprehensible. The sooner you accept it, the sooner you will find your own way of managing the world of BANI.
The sooner you accept it, the sooner you will find your way of managing in the world of BANI.