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A Key Insight for You and Your Team in Unpredictable Scenarios!

For this blog, I bring a very key insight for which a leader must be aware for true ongoing success in an Unpredictable and Challenging VUCA (Variable, Uncertain, Changing & Adaptive) Scenario or Environment. It involves 2 aspects and most people today who think only superficially tend to gravitate to only one and as such, they are inhibiting their potential for success going forward. Both aspects are applicable at times, but a leader should never set aside the one they usually do. The reader would be surprised at how often I have heard pilot instructors say “Well, it should have been like this, but it wasn’t” and when they say that they are showing how they wrongly set aside a critical aspect of these two.

It is totally aligned with my concept of Organizational Maneuverability but first, I draw the picture of these two as they were correctly described by an author Jillian Benfield, who wrote the book The Gift of the Unexpected. In an interview, she was asked about when your journey goes unexpectedly and goes off plan.

Jillian correctly brought out the two concepts related to when factors are going off plan and are unexpected. When this happens, there are 2 aspects that are how we respond which she stated as “You OVERCOME the unexpected…. OR…. you UNDERGO it!”. Her images of each are the same as if you were to google the words and are…

1. OVERCOME – you see people standing on top of mountains raising their hands and jumping up and down.

2. UNDERGO – image of someone who is about to undergo surgery as an image and struggling through something.

Very aligned with my Organizational Maneuverability, Jillian brought out a key truth and it is simply this:

“When you are experiencing the unexpected, we are not supposed to rush or skip over the hard part, skip over the darkness and get to the mountain top as quickly as possible; we must admit that we need help and seek it out to address those deep dark places and overcoming as well as growing & developing.”

It is a key thing for leaders to understand because most people simply put the challenging factors aside and just try to expedite up to the mountain in a way that our team was not prepared and developed to Overcome Future Challenges. The downside of this is that when we set this aside, we avoid challenges in Unpredictable & Unexpected scenarios and the challenges can develop us and truly prepare us as the leaders but also our Team, for the future radical & unexpected factors that will perhaps challenge us when we are not yet developed to handle it well.

Realize that there are times when you may need to adapt to a clearer path to your goals but realize, never completely put the challenges aside. When you think of OVERCOME, I ask you this critical question:

You may have luckily stumbled to the mountain top this time but to what extent did you throw aside your team’s growth, development & true preparation for overcoming the future challenges that may often address a weakness about our team for which we are not even aware?

So let me offer you a couple of questions for you to consider as the team leader:

  1. In what ways as a leader, have you subtly set aside your team’s true opportunities for growth & development?

  2. What do you as a leader need to envision & perform differently to get your team to the mountaintop WITHOUT throwing your team’s growth & true development in the trash?

  3. How must you lead to success without throwing aside your team’s realistic opportunities for development & preparation for future unexpected success?

Randy Swaim, Coaching for Relevance, LLC


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