Todd Herman, one of the speakers to join us last week for Unshakeable, thinks of himself as a “performance guy.” It makes sense, since he often works as a life coach for athletes. He understands that the best performances come out when you’re having fun. “You have to enjoy the process to mitigate stress,” Todd said.
The military-derived idea of VUCA is important to Todd. VUCA is an acronym for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity; it refers to the world conditions that make leadership difficult. It’s a timely idea, especially now in the midst of COVID-19, when the rate of change in the world is so rapid. But Todd sees an antidote to VUCA in strategy-focused leadership.
Todd says there are 3 types of ways that people have responded to crisis: fear-focused, unfocused, and strategy focused. Fear-focused people consume popular media through the crisis and implode with the overload. They use negative language and have poor mental health due to the negativity.
Unfocused people have no plan at all. They’ve largely experienced reduced working hours, but instead of responding with action, they wallow in denial. They remain inert. In contrast, strategy focused people are shifting within a week of the shutdown. They move ahead, remain optimistic, and reduce revenue loss.
Todd wants us to embrace that strategy-focused mindset. During his speech, he gave us one way that we can start doing that. When we’re faced with a decision, we have to answer four questions: what will happen if we do make this decision, what will happen if we don’t make this decision, what won’t happen if we do make this decision, and what won’t happen if we don’t make this decision. This process will give us clarity. It helps us see what problems we are facing, and how we can solve them. And that leads us to resolution. As Todd says, “you cannot solve a problem you’re not willing to accept.”