VUCA demands a new type of salesperson.

strategic leadership

VUCA: “Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous”  Source: Army War College Strategic Leadership Primer, 1st edition.

Considering the many adaptations that we have had to make in order to continue serving our clients (which in turn means adapting to their equally changing demands) it is important that we re-evaluate the characteristics and aptitudes that sales professional will need to acquire in order to create a competitive advantage in the current VUCA environment.

Like many, the HVAC industry is quickly assuming an hourglass shape in which highly specialized and highly profitable organizations are on top and commoditized low-profit businesses are at the bottom.  The complexity in both circumstances requires a non-transactional leader who is capable of leveraging organization resources and smart collaboration in order to secure more and better business.  They will  need to exemplify their organizational values at the highest level.  They will need to learn to collaborate–effectively working in teams that better meet the complexity of their clients’ needs.  Perhaps most importantly, sales leaders must be able to “think, act, and influence in ways that promote the stability of the organization.”

The Army War College Strategic Leadership Primer 3rd edition defines it as follows:

“On a holistic level, this interpretation of environmental scanning in a VUCA world ought to lead to the creation of a vision that is aligned with the best estimate of the future environment.  The organization’s vision represents an idealized representation of what the organization should strive to become.  The subsequently developed strategy, however, should explicitly align ends (objectives), ways (concepts and methods), and means (resources) to ensure that the organization’s resources are committed in a manner that allow the organization to succeed in its current and future environments–in short–to enact vision.  Strategic leaders must therefore ensure that they align the vision with their interpretation of the changing environment, and that the organization’s strategy is aligned with this vision.  Similarly, the structure, culture, personnel policies and technology also need to be aligned with the vision and strategy in order to achieve the vision and maintain competitive advantage.”

Notice the emphasis on alignment and resource allocation.  Sales people must understand that the complexity facing our clients has reached a point that individual–no matter how hard working–is capable of accommodating.

By now we all know that at some level our jobs have been immutably changed.  How significant this change will be remains to be seen but it’s greater than simply conducting meetings remotely.  The speed at which people and organizations have adapted in inspiring and encouraging.  This forced evolution casts a fresh light on topics that have not been scrutinized for a long time–including those of a durable sales professional.

Be well and stay safe.  Matt

Published by Matt Plughoff

Exploring the next evolution of small business success.

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