- VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) has become Super VUCA.
- Reflexecution is a natural way to take on Super VUCA.
- The key to Reflexiction is the Equivalence Principle.
- Reflexecution is an Action Verb of Superperformance.
In the immortal words of Apollo 13 astronaut Jack Swigart, “Houston, we have a problem.” VUCA (the famous acronym borrowed from the military for describing Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous environments) itself has undergone a second-order change. In short, VUCA has become Super VUCA.
It has become the new abnormal. It is now the water we swim in. This problem is no ordinary problem, it feels freakish because so many of the events that are invading our consciousness are difficult dilemmas to understand or solve. Often at the same time, they are unprecedented and perilous. Disruption is an opportunity for transformational change, but it also means risk. How do we navigate this environment?
We began quoting IBM’s Global CEO study in 2010, twelve years ago, noting the increasing complexity predicted by global CEOs, followed by successive credible reports over the last decade from KPMG, Cisco, Chief Executive Magazine, Accenture, and others, all pointing in the same direction. In short, global CEOs believe the disruption we are experiencing at the hands of Super VUCA has overwhelmed their own organizational capacity to deal with it. They increasingly cite the need for rapid digital transformation and rapid evolution of various new competencies, like agility, creativity, adaptability, well-being, and leadership.
Don’t Panic – Reflexecute!
As the world of work transforms before our eyes, it’s easy to lose perspective. Reflexecution is an effective way to assure the best response. Reflexecution is a natural way to transcend Super VUCA. Why? Simple. It’s symmetric. It has a back and forth, a swinging door, an oscillation, like a pendulum.
It works because of the equivalence principle. The equivalence principle means equivalent execution and reflection. When you think of your breathing, imagine breathing in only one direction. Obviously, this doesn’t work. Your breathing flows in and out in equal measure. So too should your execution flow with your reflection.
Execution, we know as the doing, the carrying out or putting into effect of a plan, order, or course of action.
Reflection, on the other hand, is the not-doing, the letting-go side. The unwiring. The relaxing. The reflecting. The learning.
Creating a larger space for reflection and protecting it is critical in times of great upheaval such as today. For best results schedule sacred time for letting go every day.
We find relevancy and meaning in experience and make intuitive connections between experiences and real-life situations when we reflect. In a Super VUCA environment such as the one we find ourselves in, we can easily acknowledge that reflection is as valuable as the mighty execution itself. But it’s the equivalence principle that will help you make the most of execution and produce the best outcomes.
Reflexecution Works Because It’s Natural
Reflexecution (in any context and at every scale) has three symmetrical parts, (1) Reflection, (2) Execution, and (3) the Swinging Back and Forth Between Them.
Reflection (Breathe In)
Reflecting is a pulling back, resting pulling back, a not-doing, a space for opening the mind, mindful awareness in order to make better decisions. Reflecting helps us to learn. Reflection is a partner to execution. To paraphrase quality theorist W. Edwards Deming, “Without reflection, execution teaches nothing.”
“Without reflection, execution teaches nothing.”
We reflect on our experiences, actions, feelings, and responses, and then interpret or analyze them in order to learn from them to make better decisions based on new knowledge. At any scale, for any project or undertaking, we can do this by asking ourselves questions about what we did, how we did it, and what we learned from doing it. These are called retrospectives in the Agile project world and are a core deliverable of every sprint cycle. In a Super VUCA environment, “reflecting” is not only required it is a permanent partner in a nonstop oscillation.
In the Super VUCA era, reflection is a critical requirement. Not only executives but any person dealing with Super VUCA would benefit from stepping back, pausing, listening, and reflecting.
Execution (Breathe Out)
Execution and Reflection are opposites. Execution is carrying out, getting it done. Execution is putting the plan into place and implementing a course of action. Execution has become a survival skill in the Digital-Knowledge Age. To execute successfully is to achieve, to carry, off, complete, realize, and fulfill. In organizations, execution is about operationalizing a company’s strategy through people, to achieve its strategic goals. At the personal level, execution is about operationalizing and achieving your personal strategic goals.
Swinging Back and Forth Between Them
Probably the most personal and intimate way to bring Refexicution to life is to notice your own breathing, which is one of its fractal signatures. We breathe in and we breathe out in a rhythm, in a natural cadence, in a tacking between the two poles. Relexicutive breathing is focusing on
the two sides of your breathing for their symmetry, opposite direction, and relaxation effect.
When we breathe we reflexecute autonomically.
Reflexecution has many names. Oscillation, vibration, surfing, tacking, breathing, and seesaw, are synonyms, but like Superfication® it is a simple action word you can take in hand. It includes a symmetrical level of reflection to balance execution. In summary, Reflexecution is the action verb of Superperformance you can take in hand to amplify any living, complex adaptive system – your company, your team, yourself.
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