VUCA world – Rene Carayol Speaks…

The most consistent and overriding theme, has been that of VUCA world – Volatile, Unpredictable, Complex and Ambiguous.  As ever, the Americans have coined this phrase to describe the unsettled times we find ourselves in at the moment.


I have yet to find a region or an organisation that are not subject to the VUCA tremors.


The biggest challenge this environment presents, is that historic information and data is perhaps no longer the best guide to determining and anticipating what will happen this year and in the future.


The very smart progressive businesses are spending a little less time in extrapolating their current and future plans based on previous year’s performance, but boldly focussing their organisation on making the future happen.

VUCA world

Business 2025: A few years back I was privileged enough to present a series on BBC World called Business 2025.  We took six CEO’s of progressive global businesses and asked them the very simple question, “what will your business look like in 2025?”


Having recently looked back at the series, it is very clear that they ALL got it seriously wrong!  Everything they thought they would be doing in 2025 they have completed within two years.


This VUCA world is making it ever harder to predict with any degree of accuracy.


Google is absolutely at the heart of becoming part of this future as opposed to trying to predict it.  So much so, we have seen their market capitalisation explode “Apple-like” adding an additional $60 billion of value in recent months, culminating in them now being worth more than the likes of IBM and General Electric at a stunning $245 billion.


Google have put innovation at the heart of everything they do.  In every Google office around the world you will find an electronic white board, where absolutely anyone in the business can write up any idea or innovation at all, no matter how daft or how futuristic.  The only person that can rub it off is the originator him or herself, but anyone can add to the originators thoughts.


In their campus in San Francisco they still have the original Google Earth diagram, which is still being added to today.


This level of creativity and invention requires constant fuel and oxygenation.


Most have heard of Google’s ‘four days out of five,’ this is where they allow their engineering folk to down tools for one day out of five (every week), in order to ‘think the unthinkable.’  Anecdotally, they would have us believe that 80% of Google’s corporate innovation comes from that one day out of five.


Leaders tell stories, managers talk strategy.


These simple stories and anecdotes at Google are told and re-told throughout the Google Empire, and this keeps the culture of innovation well-oiled and still innovating.


But Google also have realised that a fit, well-nourished and stress-free workforce helps to prolong the magic.


This leads me to my second finding, as I travel the world, the new and demonstrable focus on well-being and wellness.


On the Google campus, there is every facility and thought that makes the campus a fabulous and first class place to work; free gourmet meals brought to your place of work, gyms, showers, and just about anything else that enables a ‘better place to work.’


In some businesses especially in the Asia Pacific region wellness can range from simple meditation to yoga classes, in parts of Africa, huge community projects where workers are given time off to help provide emotional and tangible support for the less fortunate, to awareness on diets and nutrition in north America, to sessions on reducing stress and eliminating RSI in many parts of Europe.


One of the very active members of our Inspired Leaders Network is Kate Cook, Well-Being and Wellness expert and practitioner.


We have followed Kate’s work in recent months and believe she is at the forefront of a new and exciting push into changing the way we think and feel about our place of work.


Kate has performed her magic spell in a dazzling array of blue-chip organisations, with huge plaudits and sustainable changes to the way far too many of us run our busy and ‘stressed out’ lives.


Kate will be embarking on a series of talks and might just be what your workforce needs to listen to now.


She’s available to be booked and we would highly recommend her, and once booked and having connected to your workforce, you will have her back again and again and again.


We would highly recommend Kate’s recent book ‘Get healthy for good’ and please to book Kate or learn more about her please go to


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