Eight new rules of management to win in this crazy VUCA world: Nitin Seth, Incedo

During his keynote address at IDG's CIO Leadership Event in Gurugram, Nitin Seth highlighted the impact of rapid technological disruptions on businesses and how CIOs can take advantage. 

May 03rd 2018

New age technologies such as machine learning, big data analytics, IoT, artificial intelligence and blockchain are changing the enterprise sphere in a very fast manner. To cope up with the fast-changing business landscape, CIOs need to act quickly and bring these technologies into use, said Nitin Seth, Chief Executive Officer, Incedo.


He was delivering keynote address at the CIO Leadership Event at Le Meridien, Delhi NCR. Business leaders who are struggling need to recognize the need to evolve and adapt quickly to technological innovations in order to succeed, he added.


"The velocity of tech disruption we have seen in last 7-8 years has been unprecedented and that is changing the way we live our lives, the way business happens. Today, the tech advancements are far outstripping the development of our management and leadership approaches. Unless we are able to upgrade on that, we as organizations will not be able to realize the full value that new technologies present," said Nitin Seth.


Companies are struggling to find out how to deal with this VUCA world where everything is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Amibguous. The hunters are being hunted down very rapidly, the cycles are getting crunched. Two things are very important: One, the need for speed; Two, the role of technology.

Technology is no more just an enabler of business; it is the fundamental driver of business. Majority of companies are struggling. The large traditional companies who are familiar only with incremental innovation, are struggling to live with the disruptive innovation happening around them. It is not that all startups are necessarily going to succeed. They have a different set of challenges.

There are no golden answers; but here are some insights on the key shifts enterprises are grappling with. Eight new rules of management needed to win in this crazy VUCA world.

Nitin-Seth_ 8-new-management-rules-for-the-VUCA-world

1. The first principle is Innovation. It is not a ‘nice-to-do’. It is the first rule of doing business now. And as you innovate you should be ready to cannibalize yourself. For those who come from big companies, this is a big concern. But if you do not cannibalize yourself, somebody else will.

2. The second principle is around strategy. The rules of strategy have totally changed. Well laid out strategic plans do not survive contact with reality in the VUCA world. Long-term strategy is not as relevant today as it was, and it can even be harmful; focus on execution

3. Co-create. Touch the customer. Personalize.

4. Build a technology DNA. The boundaries between business and technology are blurring. Technologists believe they understand business; but not always the case—at the depth they need to understand. There is a gap. There is a need for a very different generation of technology talent.

5. Simplify. Organization structures and processes are traditionally designed for risk management. You’ve too many layers, and bureaucracy. That makes it non-agile. Cuts speed. You’ve to hugely simplify and redesign your structure and processes.

6. Building a learning-and-knowledge-sharing organization. Unless you are not continuously learning, you’ll become irrelevant, whoever you are. Technology has democratized the access to knowledge and learning. When knowledge is available to everybody, and sharing of that tacit knowledge culminates in the culture of the organization.

7. Partnering. In a VUCA world nobody can do things alone. Organizations of the size of Microsoft are changing from ‘know-it-all’ to ‘learn-it-all’. The borders between competitor and collaborator has become very fuzzy. A competitor can become collaborator; a collaborator can become a competitor. This is something you need to be very very conscious about.

8. Have an entrepreneurial leadership and culture.

The final one is the most important one. It is a summary of a lot of things I’ve talked about. Decision-making under ambiguity. Speed of action under ambiguity. Audacity. Continuous learning. Resilience and adaptability. These are necessary skills now. Making decisions amid chaos is not an easy task; but that is an essential skill. You can do that only by being centered within; by the right balancing of yin and yang. Whatever you do, you will face failures. What matters is, how you bounce back from that.

As leaders, what got us here, will not get us there. Life is becoming complex; it is more about managing contradictions. You have to manage growth and profitability at the same time; you’ve to find the balance between short term and long term. Managing this duality is probably the greatest insight for today.