“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by Joshua Nuttall.





VUCA for short.

According to Wikipedia, “VUCA is an acronym – first used in 1987, drawing on the leadership theories of Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus – to describe or to reflect on the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of general conditions and situations”

It’s a concept and term that seems rather applicable for the times that we are navigating.

In writing this blog and thinking about its framing I was drawn to the word “vuka” a Xhosa word that means to get up or wake up. I studied Xhosa growing up in the Eastern Cape and learnt many life lessons from a Xhosa teach who challenged the conventional mould of a teacher – immersing us in world of Xhosa learning when we stepped into the classroom.  You may think that I was drawn to it because if you say “VUCA” and “vuka” they sound similar. The reason I linked the two was because it reminded me of choices that we make.

In dealing with challenging and uncertain circumstances, one can sometimes retreat and go into self-protection mode. A crisis is tough, but how we respond to the circumstances and what we learn from them is what will help us build a better tomorrow.

So as we grow, change, adapt, solve and expand… let’s vuka. We have a lot to give the world and all have a part to play in helping to make it a better place.

If you are interested in learning more about this concept, here is a guide to identifying, getting ready for, and responding to events in each of the four VUCA categories.

The VUCA Quadrants (Screenshot from Harvard Business Review)
The VUCA Quadrants (Screenshot from Harvard Business Review)