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Dealing with Complexity - Why It's Not Business as Usual [Podcast]

Episode 130: Michael and Kathryn talk about why it's so difficult for business leaders to handle growing complexity (especially in 2020). Find out what Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity have to do with your business amidst local and global change by giving this episode a listen.

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In This Episode You Will...

  • Discover what the acronym VUCA stands for and why business leaders need to be thinking about it.
  • Find out how Michael and Kathryn handle growing complexity in their own company.
  • Learn how to codify your struggles in 2020 and beyond so you can strategize and adapt better.
“Struggling through layers of complexity in your business can lead to burnout. Because we care about Passion & Provision, think about how you as a leader rise to the occasion of the growing complexity... so you can scale well and not injure yourself or others along the way."
- Kathryn Redman

Resiliency Quiz

References:

Bob Johansen, Futurist.

 

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Michael:
              Hello, and welcome to the HaBO Village podcast. I'm Michael Redman.


Kathryn:
               And I'm Kathryn Redman.


Michael:
              And we are so glad you're back joining us again today, or if you're the first time visitor, welcome. We're glad to have you. This podcast is about helping and encouraging and equipping business leaders, whether you want to be a business leader or you have been a business leader for the last 30 years, to grow companies with more profit, more purpose, and more legacy, and we call that the Passion and Provision strategy. So with that in place, let's talk about leadership and scaling today. Hi.


Kathryn:
               That was amazing.


Michael:
              How about that for an opening?


Kathryn:
               Look at that. I think you should record that again and we should use that every time, because that was amazing.


Michael:
              Well I recorded it once. And so here we are. I'm excited to be back. It's been a little bit since we have just had you and I in the studio.


Kathryn:
               Yeah, we've had a lot of visitors and great conversations with people, but just to sit across the table and have a chat, it's been a minute.


Michael:
              Some phenomenal guests.


Kathryn:
               Oh, it's been so good.


Michael:
              Yeah, yeah. We met some amazing people and learned a lot of stuff and actually-


Kathryn:
               Yeah, and hope that you have too.


Michael:
              Right. Well, we're hoping that you as our listeners have. We think that there's a lot of valuable stuff. We're taking away stuff and thinking about so much from so many of these interviews, so we just appreciate you walking along. If you are enjoying this, we ask that you just hit the like over on iTunes. Well, Apple podcasts now, but some of us still call it that.


Kathryn:
               It's really, really hard to transition out, right?


Michael:
              And then anywhere else, please hit like, share, follow, whatever that button is on that platform of your choice, and we can continue to share this message with everybody else.


Michael:
              Today we're going to talk about scaling leadership. We've talked about it a lot on this podcast. It's super important, but today we're going to dig into what may or may not turn into a small series. We're still trying to figure that out, but there is a lot of conversation that we've been having, you and I, Kathryn.


Kathryn:
               Definitely.


Michael:
              With some other leaders about this issue of leadership, especially in the year 2020, and because it's becoming more and more apparent that man, it's like slugging through mud sometimes.


Kathryn:
               Yes. Well, and I laugh because, we talk about from the mastering leadership circle, the difference between a creative leader and a reactive leader and I would hazard a guess that even those that are typically and have been living in the creative leadership world leading up to 2020, even some of those folks have slipped into being reactive because the world is so challenging.


Michael:
              Well, and I have.


Kathryn:
               As have I.


Michael:
              I have literally, and it's really bugged me all lot.


Kathryn:
               Don't you hate it when you know it's happening and you're like, "I am being reactive right now. I am not being creative. I am damaging people. Aah!"


Michael:
              Those of you that are scorekeepers or competitive, I can relate to immensely because I'm like, "Oh, I'm failing back, instead of failing forward," and you know, we've had a lot of extra situations in the last few months where I've taken on some extra roles in a few different places, not just in the company but in volunteer leadership and stuff in our church and the community and doing some different things, and there's just a lot of stress for everybody dealing with life, and one of the things as a leader I find myself having to do almost on a weekly basis is remind people that even though we've been at this a long time, this is not normal stuff.


Kathryn:
               Yeah, there's nothing business as usual about 2020. It just isn't.


Michael:
              And it's starting to, I mean, because there's so much time it starts to feel like, okay, this is just the new situation. This is just, let's just ... Now can we get on with it? But everybody's thin. There's so much ambiguity. I had a conversation last night with a leadership team that was working underneath me, and it's amazing how at least a couple of them were pushing so hard for us to nail everything down and get it all organized so that everybody could count on it and it wouldn't change, and the reality is I can see that we're still in that change mode, adjustment mode so that if we go through all the hard work to nail it all down, in three weeks it's going to change again. I got told last night, we're going into this big phase where we're going to do it for two weeks and then completely reevaluate, because we don't know with COVID and with everything going on how this will go. There's so many things outside of our control and outside the norm.


Michael:
              What this really all lends itself to and how it applies to leadership in general is complexity. We want to talk about today, and this is like where we get down into the core of this. We want to talk about what it takes to really scale your leadership, to really start developing, and today we're only going to talk about the issue of complexity because it's a critical part of the conversation. Don't you think?


Kathryn:
               Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's not rocket science to just realize that the more that your company grows, the more that you add people, you add products, you add services, whatever it is that is causing it to grow, customers, the more that you add, the more complex it gets, the more variables start to be at work, so the more important it is to be able to manage complexity and as leaders, even those of us who want to grow and want to learn, sometimes when things start to get complex we start to panic like, "Oh no. I can't do it the same way I did it, and I liked how I was doing it. So now what do I do?" Right?


Michael:
              Yeah, absolutely.


Kathryn:
               And so some of those kinds of, adding those layers of complexity and struggling through those things are part of what can lead absolutely to burnout, to just losing the passion that you had to just being stuck and struggling, so because we care about Passion and Provision, we want to be talking about and thinking about how do you as a leader rise to the occasion of growing complexity so that you can scale well and not injure yourself or others too much along the way?


Michael:
              Yeah. I want to set some context for the next 20, 25 minutes. There's a lot of conversations that you and I have with leaders, Kathryn, and there's some times where they're in the conference room or it's a short conversation. You're having basic chit-chat about details and tasks and little things going on and stuff like that, but there's a lot of those conversations. Sometimes they happen during the day. A lot of times they happen in the evening when the stress of having to be to the next meeting is gone. Everybody's a little tired and so their guard is a little bit down. You're eating a meal or you're having a drink and you just sit and talk. I had one of those conversations last night with one of our friends who's a leader of an organization and a client, and that was the conversation. After a 12- or 13-hour day of work, we both had evening meetings. We started hanging out at 9:30.


Kathryn:
               By then I'm just crying. There is no guard.


Michael:
              Well, and it was like, that was really good because it was just like you're just sitting there going, okay, he's dealing with a difficult staff situation. I have touchpoints on that difficult staff situation, and literally, I mean, this guy is a powerful leader who has done a lot of amazing stuff, and yet he's sitting there going, "What am I going to do?" I've got a leader in a leadership situation and this is super hard, and this is like, man, he's talking about so many complex things in his life that are easy for him and this one, just, this has so many ramifications and it looks so hard and he feels bad that he put his team through it and got himself in this situation at the same time, and if you want to look at it from just purely an intellectual perspective, you're like, "Well, why did he do this? Why didn't he do this? Why did he do this?" But we all know, any of us that have hired at any time that that kind of happens, and so that conversation sets part of the context.


Michael:
              The other context is a conversation I had this morning with a leader. Has no organization. He's in South Africa, and I had that conversation this morning and he's dealing with the whole issue of what does it look like to scale? And we started talking about the fact that there's this group we're part of, and one of the conversations in this mini group, this small subset. There are people at so many different levels. We really need to have conversations at a much higher level.


Michael:
              We're talking about hiring. We're talking about taking our team to the next level. We're talking about scaling as opposed to starting, and we're more experienced in business. Some of the people are starting their businesses for the first time, and they've never really led anybody in business or anything that so realizing that this conversation here and what we're doing on this podcast and especially over the next few weeks is really targeted at those of us that have been experienced, those of you that have been experienced at business. You've been around awhile. We're not talking about the basic stuff anymore. We're having one of those late night conversations. We're having one of those conversations.


Michael:
              It's like, if somebody wants to sit on the edge of the circle and listen because they've never been there before and they want to see what it's like, or they are thinking about starting a business and they've never done that before, they're just sitting on the circle listening, but everything else here, this is for us that have been through it awhile. With that said, I want to jump into the concept of what Bob Johansen talked about when he talked about complexity, because when we talk about things getting difficult and challenging in our world and in our life as we grow a business, we're not just randomly talking about it. Are we?


Kathryn:
               No, absolutely not randomly talking about it. We're talking about it because it's real life every day in front of us.


Michael:
              Well, and we can be more specific about it, so why don't you introduce the topic of VUCA, Kathryn, and describe it and walk people through it?


Kathryn:
               Yeah, so there's this concept in, certainly in business and growth circles that some of you may have heard of. It was new to me a few weeks ago, and it is VUCA, V-U-C-A, and Bob Johansen, remind me again who Bob Johansen is.


Michael:
              Bob's a futurist and he's written several books over the last several decades.


Kathryn:
               He came up with this concept quite a while ago. It's just it's kind of resurging now.


Michael:
              Yeah. I believe it was either in the late nineties or the early aughts when he published a book and first introduced the concept. It's an acronym. VUCA.


Kathryn:
               Yeah, so VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.


Michael:
              Read those again.


Kathryn:
               Volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. So I read those four words and all I can think of is, so those are good descriptors for 2020, Michael.


Michael:
              Right.


Kathryn:
               I know he wrote this a long time ago, but holy moly. Volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Those sound like the right terms for the current day we're in.


Michael:
              Totally. Totally. Okay, so let's walk through and break these apart, and what VUCA is is really, it's an acronym and it's caught on from what I understand in larger company leaderships and stuff like that, but it really is. It's like, how high is your VUCA? How high is this combination of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity? This is a high VUCA situation, a low VUCA situation. I'm starting to think about it like that and use it in that context.


Michael:
              So when we talk about volatility, here's what happens. You have challenges, and this is from scaling leadership. Challenges can appear overnight and be of unknown duration and intensity. Disruption on multiple fronts is accelerating. Okay, volatility. Challenges. Challenges can appear overnight and be of an unknown duration and intensity. Disruption on multiple fronts is accelerating. That's just the V of VUCA. What does that make you think of?


Kathryn:
               I feel like I'm going back in time and I'm sitting in a hotel ballroom in Denver and the world is starting to shut down around us.


Michael:
              Yeah, it's March of this year.


Kathryn:
               It's March, and all of a sudden everything that we know is changing, and because in that situation we were actually sitting with an organization for whom their entire life and their entire company it was about getting people on stages, and all of the stages were shutting down, so we're with this company who's training us in certain areas and they have no idea how they're going to survive the next year because their entire business model is based on something that for the minute has shut down, and how long is that going to last? Nobody knows. And what's going to happen? Nobody knows. Is this a three-month thing, a six-month thing, a year thing a two-year? Nobody knows.


Michael:
              And they lost in the last six months $4 million in revenue. They are a high margin company. They have 50 employees, so they are either in their high seven figure revenue or low eight, low, low eight figures company. 4 million hurts a lot.


Kathryn:
               Yeah, and I mean, part of what's interesting about this particular year is certainly when Bob wrote this and when this concept came up and during the course of the history of business, volatility is often industry-related or there's volatility in the market for various reasons. There's volatility in a specific industry. There's disruption. There's things going on that radically shift how you function as an organization. What we're dealing with in 2020 is global volatility, and it's like it's every industry, it's every market, it's every everything, and for some it's massive growth because of the events of 2020, but even that is volatile, right? It's just the changing rules and the changing game, and it's global, and that makes it a really interesting time.


Michael:
              Now, so that's volatility. That's V, and that's happening in our world around us. That's happening in our business. Now, I don't want to just set the context for this just in 2020 and COVID, right? So one of the things that was an interesting quote recently, and I haven't been able to nail it down, but I've heard something like it similar and it is that when you double the size of an entity or an organization or a machine, you increase the complexity by 8X.


Kathryn:
               I think he said 10X.


Michael:
              Was it 10X?


Kathryn:
               Yes, because I remember the conversation. I'm trying to find the face on the screen.


Michael:
              It was Ryan.


Kathryn:
               It was Ryan.


Michael:
              We interviewed him.


Kathryn:
               So when you double the size of the machine, you 10X the complexity.


Michael:
              So think about that. How many of you want to double the size of your company? Who would love to double the size of your company, double the size of your revenue?


Kathryn:
               I can hear you nodding, raising your hands.


Michael:
              Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Kathryn:
               Me, me, me.


Michael:
              Even if it's over the next 10 years. Like, do you expect to double your revenue in 10 years? Would you like to? I don't know a businessperson who's not thinking, "Okay, how long would it take for you to double the size of your company?" That's the thing. This complexity is huge because you think about it and if you're like, "No way." You know, "What? That can't be." Think about how many different things you have to consider now, how many things you have to touch, how many people you have to consider as the machine's running, because if one of those parts breaks, one of those people fails, then what kind of implication does it have to the company, and how do you get that going, and are there people in place who can take care of fixing that, repairing that, maintaining that part of the organization, or do you have to always drop what you're doing and step in?


Michael:
              If you haven't scaled the leaders underneath you and grown them, you have to drop everything you do and step in. Last night, I'm in a group environment. I'm in charge. I'm troubleshooting several things, and I have the most technical knowledge over a certain area of stuff going on. I was literally getting called last night. My name was being called from five different directions at least twice within 30 seconds.


Kathryn:
               You're so popular.


Michael:
              So popular.


Kathryn:
               It feels so good to be wanted. You're like, "No!"


Michael:
              I remember dreaming of like, I just want people to want ... When I was young it's like, I just want people to value me and want my attention and want my opinion, and it would be great.


Kathryn:
               And now you're like, "I just want them to leave me alone."


Michael:
              Just shut up and go away. Let me do my job. Let me do my work. And I was having to do it with time pressures on us and keep my smile and keep my calm. We'll talk about that more later, because that's a key part.


Michael:
              The next one in the VUCA is uncertainty. Here we go. We are required to operate with incomplete information in unpredictable environments. Wait a minute. We're required to operate with incomplete information in unpredictable environments. Some of you right now are going, "That's my sweet spot." And some of you are going, "Aah! Where's the door? Let me run out of the room." Because that's hell, but when we increase VUCA we're increasing that volatility, and then we increase uncertainty.


Kathryn:
               Because there's things you don't know.


Michael:
              Now, you and I are both on the Myers-Briggs. We're Ps.


Kathryn:
               We are. You're a much bigger P than I am, but-


Michael:
              I'm a bigger P.


Kathryn:
               Yes. We're going to not go too far with them.


Michael:
              Okay. All of you who have started joking now or tried to spit out your coffee or whatever, come back to us. My wife just told me I'm a bigger P than she is, but that whole idea of in the Myers-Briggs, if you're not familiar with it, increases flexibility and we like to make decisions at the last minute, because we want to make sure we have all the data and we have all the best options, and if we make decisions too early, we might've missed them. So we're inclined to create our own uncertainty and volatility a little bit, but that's significant. So you're in volatility, uncertainty.


Michael:
              Right before this podcast, I had a conversation with one of our staff who came in who was a bit stressed because there's been a topic that we've been working on for the last six weeks. There's a little bit of stress in it. We've got one of our vendors who is involved too, and the problem is it hasn't been the right time to try and solve the problem we need to solve. Because I said to them, "If we use those logos that we are creating because the client decided to create their own logos that we don't like, I'm talking in code because I'm not going to say this on the air.


Kathryn:
               Perfect. I'm so confused.


Michael:
              She's looking at me like, "Who are you?"


Kathryn:
               Who are you? Who are we talking-


Michael:
              But what I said is, "If you had asked me to introduce those changes you want to have happen four weeks ago, five weeks ago, I know the answer would have been no because the client was not in the place to be able to say yes. It was too much going on. I was lucky because I was able to introduce the concept to the client Wednesday morning this week, and I've got some initial buy-in before I start showing them. We're going to move forward, but that is a lot of uncertainty for the staff member who craves clarity and clear expectations so that when they're making decisions, we're required to operate with incomplete information in unpredictable environment. This person, this staff member of ours hates this.


Kathryn:
               That makes her crazy.


Michael:
              Yeah. Oh, it drives her crazy.


Kathryn:
               Got it.


Michael:
              Okay. You want to say anything else on uncertainty?


Kathryn:
               No. I don't.


Michael:
              Okay. Let's move on to complexity. VUCA. V-U-C. Volatility, uncertainty, complexity. Complexity. Challenges are highly interdependent and difficult to map. There are unknown unknowns. We are required to operate with ... I thought you'd like that. Challenges are highly interdependent and difficult to map. There are unknown unknowns.


Kathryn:
               You don't know what you don't know.


Michael:
              And like, I don't know how to map coronavirus. I don't know how to map the 2020 presidential elections that are going to happen next week. When you hear this, we're recording this before the elections. We don't know what's going to happen, and we don't know what the results are going to be. No matter what.


Kathryn:
               No matter who does what.


Michael:
              No matter who wins.


Kathryn:
               Yep. Well, and I'm trying to think of the illustration, but one of the things that makes me laugh about that is this concept of everything being super intertwined. So I have this image of this massive sort of ball of wires, right? And you just don't know. When you pull on something, you don't know what you're unraveling. Right? You don't know what you're actually, like, what is this thread actually going to do if I pull?


Michael:
              Do you remember the example we used when we were talking to Ryan that I brought up?


Kathryn:
               It's in my head, but I can't find it.


Michael:
              Alright, ready? I'm going to give you a clue.


Kathryn:
               I'm ready. Do it.


Michael:
              Na na na na na na na na na na na na.


Kathryn:
               Oh, it's the Batman. Yes. It's Batman and Robin, the old Batman and Robin. Okay, so do the illustration, because I'm going to mess it up. Do it.


Michael:
              Okay. The original Batman and Robin in the sixties, I think it was in the sixties.


Kathryn:
               Where they had the things like, "Ka-plow! Ka-bam!"


Michael:
              Exactly, and the really cheesy tights and all that kind of stuff. Alright. I was a big fan of Batman when I was a kid, especially that Batman, and one of the episodes where Batman and Robin and-


Kathryn:
               Batgirl.


Michael:
              Batgirl. It might've even been Catwoman, but I think it was Batgirl. It was one of the women, right? And they had come in contact with the bad guys, and they had been beaten in a fight and all knocked out, and when they came to the bad guys who were super smart knew how to intertwine their bodies so they were in this weird human knot that they were like, "My arm's over here and your leg's there and your head's here and everything else," and they were all intertwined, and Batman discovering really quickly, because every time somebody would try and free themselves, like Robin's going, "Oh my gosh, I just got squeezed over here and it got tighter and everything else," and he says, "Oh, we must be in a special blah-blah-blah knot."


Kathryn:
               We have to find this episode so we know the name of the knot.


Michael:
              Every time you pull on what seems to be the right way to get out of the knot, it actually tightens the knot to the point where it could constrict them and kill them. It was a special knot.


Kathryn:
               That is so fancy.


Michael:
              And so they had to do very unorthodox, counterintuitive moves to untie the knot so that it didn't actually choke the knot on itself and become untieable, and VUCA, so often when you get these complexities and everything, this type of complexity and stuff actually requires you to do some things that are counterintuitive. But once you learn them, you go, "Oh, this is what we do." It like solving a three-dimensional puzzle when all you've solved is two-dimensional puzzles.


Kathryn:
               Well, in this concept of the unknown unknowns, I think one of the things that I find to be true as leaders struggle during these kinds of seasons is that they keep trying to solve problems the same way even though there's a whole new set of circumstances, so they bring in the same set of assumptions like, "Last time we went through this, we called all of our partners and vendors together and said, 'What is it that you would like us to do for you?'" And they're still trying to do that sometimes in a season where as it turns out those partners and vendors don't actually care you exist because they got their own set of stuff going on, and it's not going to happen. So how else are you going to approach this that's different than that? So applying that, sort of the unknown unknowns, the way of just navigating complexity is, it's an interesting thing to watch people try and deal with it.


Michael:
              Yeah, and by the way, just as a side note, that conversation we're supposed to have Monday or something, if we're a part of it. I wonder if starting with describing what we're talking about here about VUCA and setting the stage might be helpful. If nothing else-


Kathryn:
               That's like, note to self. Thank you.


Michael:
              I'm just like, oh wow. Idea.


Kathryn:
               Yes. Good idea.


Michael:
              Catch it on the spot. Okay. The fourth piece is ambiguity. Yes, folks, you're watching us think in live time.


Kathryn:
               Or hearing us as it turns out think in live time.


Michael:
              Oh sure. Be literal.


Kathryn:
               You know, there's no camera. I can tell, because-


Michael:
              Okay, so the fourth of VUCA is the A, ambiguity. Casual relationships are difficult to see, and it's hard to agree-


Kathryn:
               I think it's causal.


Michael:
              Oh, it is causal. I misread that.


Kathryn:
               Yeah.


Michael:
              You're right. Causal relationships are difficult to see.


Kathryn:
               That makes more sense.


Michael:
              Yeah, it makes more sense. Causal relationships are difficult to see, and it's hard to agree about what something means. Causal relationships. What are causal relations?


Kathryn:
               One thing effecting another thing. If A happens, then B happens. Those become harder to see in times of complexity.


Michael:
              The other thing that happens is when you have that other type of complexity, it's not causation, but it's, what's the other part? Basically what you're saying, somebody who's out there in their car going, they're giving me the answer. Thank you very much. I appreciate that. The idea that not just how does A affect B? How does A affect D, E, and F? Those are causal, like what's going on and the farther out you get, it's like, well, what's the complexity? How do I come up with that?


Kathryn:
               It's the butterfly effect. Did that really get caused by that butterfly flapping its wings in South Africa? Is that what's happening right now?


Michael:
              But when you get into this, you get into this situation where causal relationships that are just are so often obvious, it's obvious that this causes this. It's not obvious in increasing VUCA moments, this complexity and everything else where you can't always see it. Well, somebody says, "I think this will cause that. I think that caused that." Again, we go back. We're in the perfect environment. What is going to happen in the world and what is going on with COVID? It's anybody's guess. I mean, the best science is working on it. The best science said we would lose by this time 800,000 people would be dead in the United States. Less than 300,000 are. The best science said that it would do X, Y, and Z, and now it's shifting. The best science thought we were going to be fighting one virus, and now that there's research saying that the virus has mutated and there's actually two or three or four strains of it.


Michael:
              So if we do this, will it stop the virus? If we do this, will it cause the virus to spread? If people catch the virus, will they die? How many will die? What's those numbers? This gets into that place where you, so there's a lot of ambiguity because quite frankly, we don't know. We've never had this virus. We don't have any historic information on this virus.


Kathryn:
               Well, and people disagree. Right? So that also adds ambiguity, because who do you listen to? How do you figure it out?


Michael:
              And when it starts, the other thing that happens is when you go back to uncertainty and challenges, so let's go to volatility, to the V of VUCA. Challenges can appear overnight and be of unknown duration and intensity. Okay, so COVID shows up overnight basically in a long span of time. It shows up overnight on the historical map of society. Then in the midst of that, we have no historical evidence so now we're in a place where we don't know, well, what are the implications? What does this mean? What are the causal effects of this? How do we come to an agreement on definitions? What's going on? It's hard to agree about what something means. This means we're in a lot of trouble, or this means we're not nearly in as much trouble, and you see that argument across the board.


Kathryn:
               Well, yeah, and you're out in public and I mean, I'm at Costco last night and there's a guy in a T-shirt that says, "I've had hangovers worse than COVID-19," and I'm like, okay, well there's one perspective, and there's lots of other perspectives that would probably want to punch you in the face, and so even just that constant barrage of opinion and ideating and all of that stuff in the world that we live in is really, it's really good time.


Michael:
              Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so what we've done now is we've just walked through the VUCA, the V-U-C-A. As we really lay this at you, the listeners' feet and just go, "I want you to think about this," think about like, this is super valuable and super important for you in your daily relationships, in your daily business actions. You've got to start looking now, and this is an assignment for you. I want you to start thinking about, where can I see volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity in the places in my work, in my company, in my life, and how often do those creep up?


Michael:
              And if I were to ask you the question and the three of us were hanging out together and we said, "How much more VUCA do you have in your life now than you had a year ago?" Were you going through a horrific situation before COVID happened and you're like, "Actually I have less VUCA," and some of you may say that. I think a lot of us are saying, "Oh no, we have this," and if you think it's just a COVID issue, it's not. If you map it out over the last few decades, you're seeing increasing complexity and what Bob Johansen said is what is even more crazy now is it used to be that this kind of complexity was at the local level.


Michael:
              Now this kind of complexity is a global issue, and so as we're talking through this, we're thinking, okay, this is just going to grow, and he was asked by the authors of Scaling Leadership and Mastering Leadership. They said a few years ago, "Okay, so Bob, you know, what's it going to look like in the future?" And this was six or seven years ago, and Bob looked at them and he said, "You haven't seen anything yet." The complexity, even just five, six, seven years ago. He says, "You haven't seen anything yet. It's going to get-"


Kathryn:
               And that had nothing to do with a global pandemic.


Michael:
              Right.


Kathryn:
               Just complexity in everything that we do, whether you're talking about computing power, you're talking about everyone having a full-sized computer in the palm of their hand and the ongoing growth and complexity of just the tech of the world that we live in.


Michael:
              Take social media.


Kathryn:
               Take social media.


Michael:
              So when we talk about the fact that when we double in size, we 10X the complexity of something, these are the things that as we grow our companies and we grow our leadership and we strive to become better leaders, that we're coming into this going, "Yes, this is important and significant. We've got to think about these things," and part of what is really key and we're going to talk about in the next episode is the concept of having a non-anxious presence, because it's one thing to understand all of us. What do we do with it now? Well over the next few episodes, we're going to talk about different things that are going to help you grow and handle this complexity better, and it's going to start with understanding that our goal is to be able to handle this complexity with a non-anxious presence, basically increased complexity with the same or less stress than we have now so that we are literally seen and truly are more effective as leaders.


Kathryn:
               And part of the goal of today, and this is not untrue of many of our podcasts, is sometimes you just need to codify what's happening.


Michael:
              Yes. Yes.


Kathryn:
               Right? So the concept of VUCA is a way to wrap your brain around, that's why this is so freaking hard. That's why I'm feeling the way I'm feeling, right?


Michael:
              It's super powerful.


Kathryn:
               It's super powerful to be able to put words to it and be able to say, "Oh, this particular model, this concept that Bob Johansen put forward actually helps me go, 'Yeah, my VUCA this year has been a really big deal.'"


Michael:
              I hate trendy terms, but this one gives us clarity. It gives us four things we can look at. It gives us definitions, and then I can start to spot it, and then I can start to work on strategies to deal with it.


Kathryn:
               Exactly.


Michael:
              That is today's episode on the complexity and dynamics that are affecting us and the increase of all these complex things or the increase of VUCA in the midst of it all. We've talked about complexity, but now complexity is one of the pieces of VUCA, and we want you to be tooled up. If you haven't heard about this before, I hope you just really think about this and mull this over and start pondering it and look for it in your organization in your life. If you've already heard about this and you bought into it, this should be good reminder because there's so many different things that call our attention as leaders. You may not have been thinking about this top of mind, and then we're going to break this down and in the next episode, we're going to talk about how to be a non-anxious, present leader in the midst of VUCA and the changing times. I'm Michael Redman.


Kathryn:
               I'm Kathryn Redman.


Michael:
              We are really thankful that you've visited us today and joined us, and we look forward to seeing you back again or having you back again. And again, if you have found this helpful, we have other episodes on habovillage.com. You can go there and check out the show notes on this show or any other show and share the links, share the episodes, and help us create, help us build leaders and equip leaders and encourage leaders to build Passion and Provision companies that are full of profit, purpose, and legacy. Have a great week.