How to communicate in a VUCA environment

How do we categorize VUCA environments? They are spaces dominated by four basic characteristics: volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. These four terms, originally from the English expression, mark the business communication activites that we have today to develop professional communication. This communicaction is sometimes surprising due the speed of its changes, especially those related to technology and the digital ecosystem.

It is true that when developing in these environments it is more than necessary to build a strong communication strategy, which empowers organizations through what we call intangible assets, which ultimately translates to a good reputation.

This environment of constant transformation and information saturation requires strategies based on trust and credibility, two assets which communication professionals must work with that are largely achieved by generating knowledge and commitment. But not only that. It is essential that those of us who dedicate ourselves to this profession must manage safe spaces for dialogue with stakeholders and the company’s different groups of interest, putting users at the center of all actions and knowing that digitalisation has empowered them.

The uncertainty that dominates the current ecosystem forces professionals, agencies and companies to develop innovative communication strategies based on a series of aspects and crucial values to achieve their set objectives. Some of those factors are:

A strong, clear approach, which can serve as an attempt to stop the volatility. If we can predict what is coming, organizations and their leaders can anticipate any challenge or unexpected incident. In many occasions, and given the speed of the technological changes to which we are accustomed, it is very complicated to “stop the ball from rolling” and look with a different perspective.

Understanding the world. It may seem a righteous-sounding phrase, but it is the reality. In a changing world full of complexities, the most appropriate attitude is to face anything comes from understanding and knowledge. Understanding always requires observing and listening to others in the search for different solutions. A communication strategy in VUCA environments must be the result of an active listening process, mainly within the organization, and with creative and innovative proposals.

Trust. Today more than ever and, above all, in an ecosystem like the one we live in, it is necessary to have the confidence of your stakeholders or interest groups, from employees to customers, through suppliers and media.

Agility and reaction capacity. How can we combat ambiguity? Obviously, with speed and ability to moving inside and outside of your organization to implement solutions. Faced with unforeseeable environments, the response of companies marks the communication strategy, much more than planning.

Bárbara Yuste
Director of Digital Communication at Proa Comunicación