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agility nimble skills vuca vucah May 01, 2020

Coaches, and in particular Sales Coaches, we believe in the power of language. 

Two words resonated with today's mid-pandemic crisis quotidien (Did I say mid-crisis?). The first one is VUCAH. And the second one is Nimble.

So, instead of letting them go, I decided to find here a meaning, a reason, and a lesson.


VUCAH is the acronym for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity, and Hyperconnectivity. The "H" was added a few years ago. The oldest I could find was from a publication in 2016.

VUCA was coined in 1987, so it was already a popular term four years ago to describe the "unknown," the "difficult," and the "changing business environment." I recall that we delivered training workshops for sales leaders about VUCA and the required competencies to be more prepared to live with it.

Funny story: If you look for the word VUCAH (with the final "H") in Google Trends today, you get a unique message: "Hmm, your search doesn't have enough data to show here." Boom!. Confirmed! This is relatively new.

Has the hyper-connectivity grown during this pandemic? Even though personal direct contact has been clearly reduced in most places, the intended meaning points to the multiplication of communication channels. So, "hyper multiplicity of channels" during Covid-19? Well, a sounding yes!


Let´s jump for a moment, to the other word, Nimble. And here is where the buzz starts to make sense.

Nimble shows a good amount of meanings and synonyms. The adjective nimble means: "moving quickly and lightly," or "mentally quick," or "agile, light-footed". And it goes on: "alert," "able to learn and understand things quickly and easily"; "responsive," "sensitive." More? "acute", "sharp", "expeditious", "efficient".

Well, that's a lot- I thought. 

"It looks like VUCAH and NIMBLE were made for each other, in Sales" - I mumbeled.

Let me explain.


If we accept that we are in the midst of a global crisis, and in a moment when markets configurations, consumer behaviors, communication processes, competitive landscapes, basically everything is changing in some way, the first question we tend to ask is "Who will save us?". Or better said: "Who can guide us?". Or even better asked: "Who has the ability to drive business carefully and get results today?".

The one-word answer: Salespeople. No one is better prepared than salespeople to take care of business and get results during storms. But not every salesperson. Just a few of them.

So, the next question is: "HOW would that salesperson need to be?" "What of his competencies need to stand-out today?". And here is where nimble takes the first row and even the stage. Look:

Volatility - Rapid change needs rapid, quick and light-footed movements. Agility is volatility's nemesis.

Uncertainty - Sensitive and acute minds are able to see beyond the shadows.

Complexity - Intricated or complicated things need to be studied, learned, and understood before being addressed.

Ambiguity -  Inexactness and multiple interpretations require sharp and alert perspectives.

Hiperconnectivity - Efficiency is the competency designed to handle hyper-multiplied connections and communication nodes. 


Nimble sales professionals can guide us through this storm. That's the reason for the buzz. That's the learning!

Are they the only ones able to guide the rest? Maybe not. But one thing is very clear: This is the time for nimble reps to shine.


My closing question is: "What about you?" "How nimble are you, today?" "Are you ready for this challenge?"



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