You may or may not have heard of the acronym VUCA. It’s not in the Interstates acronym dictionary, but it stands for:

  • Volatility
  • Uncertainty
  • Complexity
  • Ambiguity
  • (aka – A normal Tuesday; stuff happens 😊; daily life – at home and at work)

Traditionally, we look at VUCA as a bad thing. We spend a lot of time planning and trying to avoid all the things that acronym stands for. Then when VUCA (stuff) happens, we get frustrated with events, other people and ourselves. We view VUCA as a challenge, extra work and basically a pain.

With the agile mindset, we don’t change VUCA. We change the way we look at VUCA.

Just a reminder of what the agile mindset is:

  • Looking for the opportunity that comes with every difficulty or problem
  • Spending as much time preparing as we do planning
    • Planning is designing how to complete a project or task in a specific environment and situation
    • Preparing is focusing on the mission and being ready to adapt based on changes in the environment, schedule or items outside of our control (improvise, adapt and overcome).
  • Embracing VUCA as a way for Interstates to stand out from the crowd. It is about taking extreme ownership and leveraging our resources and networks.

The next time VUCA comes knocking, you have a few choices:

  • Run (avoid it)
  • Hang your head, complain a little, and focus on the extra work you will have to do.
  • Take a big deep breath, grin a little, and think, “this is my team’s and my opportunity to shine by focusing on accomplishing the mission.”

Choosing the last one will be worth it, because this is when we are needed the most. It’s also where we can make the biggest difference because we are living out the Interstates Core (Values, Vision, and Whys).

From personal experience, this is easier said than done. No one embraces VUCA all the time. That is why we need one another. We are stronger, more agile, and better when we are One Interstates that focuses on our clients and each other. So the next time you see someone smiling – that might just mean they are embracing VUCA and kicking a little gluteus maximus.

Keep smiling and living the Interstates way!


Scott Peterson, Interstates CEO


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