Prof Dion du Plessis with Sr Lindiwe Mahlangu (centre), of the Ann Latsky Nursing College, and co-public health sector Africa Health Management Conference delegates who, from their contributions to the VUCA Q&A, Prof Dion had identified as good candidates to apply the VUCA principles in their own environments.

Daily
challenges in the work environment, particularly those well-publicised personnel,
performance and structural issues faced in the country’s healthcare
establishments, are not likely to be addressed effectively unless everybody
involved takes positive action in their own way.

This might
sound obvious, but the question is how? The answer must lie in leadership
skills, Prof Dion du Plessis, Healthcare Consultant, past Head of Urology and a
former Dean of Medicine at the University of Pretoria, stressed when
introducing his presentation on leadership challenges in a disruptive
healthcare environment towards the end of last week’s Africa Health Management
Conference in Midrand.

“A great
help would be for our leaders in healthcare to become aware of, understand and
apply the concept of VUCA,” Prof Dion advised those wanting to play a part in
addressing the problems and finding the solutions:

Volatility
– change dynamics and speed resulting in risk taking and instability

Uncertainty
– unpredictability and potential surprises, paralysis due to data overload

Complexity
– task correlation, multifaceted effects and influences impacting on
productivity

Ambiguity
– ideal vs actual, misinterpretation, lapses in decision making, inducing doubt

Addressing
each in turn, Prof Dion was assured by many representing mainly the public
hospital and nursing sectors in his audience that each element of VUCA was
readily identifiable in their specific work situations.

What made
VUCA so important, he went on to explain, is that it was a principle of
enablement: “Because the VUCA world is not unyielding, Volatility can yield to
Vision, Uncertainty can lead to Understanding, Complexity can yield to Clarity
and Ambiguity can yield to Agility.

“Leaders,”
he stressed in conclusion, “must listen 10 years’ into the future and
gain insight that can help them to make the right decisions with vision, understanding,
clarity and agility!”

Photo Caption: Prof Dion
du Plessis with Sr Lindiwe Mahlangu (centre), of the Ann Latsky Nursing College,
and co-public health sector Africa Health Management Conference delegates who, from
their contributions to the VUCA Q&A, Prof Dion had identified as good
candidates to apply the VUCA principles in their own environments