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| 2 minutes read

Redefining VUCA for Global Mobility

VUCA is an acronym that encompasses a collection of 4 risk categories: volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. It's a term that gets tossed out to define the challenges global mobility teams should be considering and is usually used to explore how to minimize risk and enhance the safety and security of employees. The term ties back to a company's duty of care philosophy. Looking at locations from a VUCA perspective allows you to consider the risk to employees and sets a background for providing proper support to employees going through your global mobility programs.   

We have posted on the term many times on our Trending Topics page, and we are always engaging companies to consider risk management in mobility policies and processes. Avoiding safety and security issues is universal, from moving people in the midst of a pandemic to moving interns internationally for their summer internships. Benefits like area orientations, help finding an appropriate home, and selecting the right schools are good examples of the kinds of things that help support a safe transition.

In a recent post, (Who feels the most and the least secure worldwide?) we touched on some resources that look around the world and evaluate locations from a safety perspective. Gallup’s Law and Order Index uses four questions to gauge people’s sense of personal security and their personal experiences with crime and law enforcement. While overall most people in the world remain confident in police and feel secure, like real estate, safety is a "location, location, location" kind of thing.

In this Forbes article, we're challenged with a paradigm shift, moving each element of VUCA from negative to positive, and that's a great sentiment to start a new year! The authors replace volatility with vision, uncertainty with understanding, complexity with clarity, and ambiguity with agility. Adjusting our mental model of VUCA can help put more energy and creativity into designing quality solutions for the challenges we face. It's explained that "one aspect of successful organizations is they are antifragile, meaning they get stronger under stress. For our organizations to thrive, we need to consider the system we operate in and determine how to make them antifragile." While there are a few behaviors that they feel an "antifragile" company (or program) should be focused on in 2023, it made me wonder how mobility teams are actively engaging inside companies to support some of these behaviors or initiatives. Regardless, looking at VUCA (sometimes referenced as VUCA 2.0) with the new lens of vision, understanding, clarity and agility might support the goal of improving the care your mobility program provides to mobile employees.

Traditionally, VUCA stood for volatile, uncertain, chaotic and ambiguous, but more recently a more positive acronym has emerged to represent the positive response to VUCA: vision, understanding, clarity and agility or adaptability. VUCA will define the coming years, and there's an opportunity for leaders to shift the negative VUCA to the positive VUCA.


vuca, global mobility, duty of care, volatility, complexity, uncertainty, ambiguity, risk factors, antifragile, vision, understanding, clarity, agility