uncertainty“VUCA” (Volatile – Uncertain – Complex – Ambiguous) entered our vocabulary in the 1990s, and though it is often used to describe a military operation, there’s a good chance it describes your working environment, too.

The element of VUCA over which you have the most control is Uncertainty, which can create a negative impact on your business performance, client retention, and employee engagement. Though Volatility, Complexity, and Ambiguity may depend on forces outside of your control, the amount of Uncertainty in your organization is often up to you.

Uncertainty leads to performance problems when

  • Your employees hesitate to take any action because they don’t know if what they do today will matter next week
  • Innovation grinds to a halt because potential innovators may feel they are taking on too big of a risk by trying something new
  • Clients are unwilling to buy products or sign contracts because they don’t know what the future holds for you
  • Employees who are unsure about their future in the company choose to leave for a more stable environment.

Rather than missing out on opportunities and incurring new costs, a few simple steps can help you create a more stable environment. In this session we explore lessons learned from the military, government agencies, nonprofits, and the private sector, to help you find ways to reduce Uncertainty in a way that’s right for you, and improve your organization’s success.


WilliamDr. William Thomas is a retired US Air Force lieutenant colonel who has been working across Asia as a leadership advisor and coach since 2012. During his military career he was assigned as a nuclear officer; worked as a strategic planner for counter-terrorism and other complex missions; trained as a Joint Special Operations Staff Officer; deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan; and, taught as a professor of strategy and political science at the US Air Force Academy. He has also been a professor at Georgetown University in Washington DC, and has taught as a Fulbright Scholar at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. An international marathoner, he is the author of CROSS THE LINES: A Journey to Complete The Marathon Grand Slam, which shares his lessons from running marathons on all 7 continents and at the North Pole.

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