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Leadership

Leading Amid a Changing Culture

As culture changes quickly, we see new challenges as leaders. In English, the acronym VUCA has been used to describe this environment as full of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. These four aspects of a changing culture require a different style of leadership than what may have worked in the past.

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” — Jesus, when asked why His disciples did not follow the traditions of the Jewish elders in fasting (Matthew 9:16-17)

As culture changes quickly, we see new challenges as leaders. In English, the acronym VUCA has been used to describe this environment as full of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. These four aspects of a changing culture require a different style of leadership than what may have worked in the past.

Today, there is simply too much happening for a single leader to know enough of the right information, at the right time, to make the right decisions for predictable results. The challenge to be proactive in a changing world keeps many companies, institutions, and ministries stuck in old ways. If we do not adjust to new paradigms, we can expect our garments to tear and our wineskins to burst.

Our future direction requires servant leaders who follow Jesus closely, facing challenges with these VUCA’ (Prime) leadership skills:

Vision: the ability to envision what a fruitful ministry will look like in three to five years
Understanding: the ability to stop, look and listen to a diverse group of people giving feedback
Clarity: the discipline to make sense of what is actually happening now
Agility: the ability to adjust your plans, communicate well across the organization and empower others

Jesus Christ invites us to lead in fresh, creative ways. What is most challenging to you about leading in a rapidly changing VUCA world?

By Ken

Dr. Ken Cochrum (DMin, Bethel University) is Vice President of Global Digital Strategies at Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) in Orlando, Florida. An avid cyclist and aspiring guitarist, he also holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas and a Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. He recently co-founded Indigitous.org, a movement passionate about connecting people to Jesus using digital strategies. He previously served as vice president of Cru’s student-led movements worldwide. He and his wife Ann spent 13 years in East Asia where they raised their two children. Ken blogs regularly at www.onleadingwell.com.

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