Project Management

Voices on Project Management

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Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with--or even disagree with--leave a comment.

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Recent Posts

Mind Map Your Way to Trust on Virtual Teams

Dare to Hope and Dream—Our Future Depends on It

Virtual Teamwork Makes the Virtual Dream Work

The Time to Start Vertical Development Is Now

Become a Better Servant Leader

VUCA Means It’s Time for a Bigger Cup

by Conrado Morlan

 

The term VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world has been around for a while. But 2020 will be remembered as the year that forced every organization to deal with the VUCA world. And the most successful ones will be those that find ways to improve the capability of their leaders by acquiring new ways of thinking.

Yet even before COVID, PwC’s annual CEO survey found a majority of executives reporting they didn’t have the talent needed to grow their organizations and respond to increasing complexities.

         Today’s VUCA world demands vertical development. What exactly does that mean? The acquisition of skills, certifications, and experience is essentially learning or horizontal development. Vertical development helps the individual change to become more sophisticated, mature, and capable.

Put simply: Horizontal development transforms what you know; vertical development transforms how you think.

Typically, vertical development involves the following:

  • An unprecedented experience that derails a person’s habitual way of thinking
  • Meeting with people who have different perspectives to find a different way to achieve outcomes
  • A process of integration to help the leader gain a different perspective and develop a new way of thinking

Vertical development isn’t exclusive to leaders at the top of the organizational hierarchy. It’s for anybody in the organization, including project professionals.

If project managers and/or organizational leaders respond to the VUCA world simply through learning a few more skills, it’s not going to produce any significant benefit. They must develop their capabilities, adapt, and expand their ability to respond to the challenges. Vertical development involves a transformation of their consciousness.

To understand the difference between horizontal and vertical development, think of a cup of water. Individuals developing horizontally are pouring water into their cups. Individuals developing vertically need a bigger cup.

As project managers grow into their leadership roles, it becomes less about their mastery of frameworks, methodologies, tools, and techniques, and more about their container. The level of consciousness to navigate the complexity of the VUCA world requires a bigger cup.

One of the greatest benefits of vertical development is how it fosters increased mental complexity, innovation, emotional intelligence, and the ability to resolve conflicts constructively. This translates to an improved ability to interpret situations and make effective decisions—two essential skills needed to tackle problems in the VUCA world.

         How are you and your team using vertical development to deal with today’s VUCA world?

 

 

 

Posted by Conrado Morlan on: September 29, 2020 11:03 AM | Permalink | Comments (13)
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