Strategy has always been crafted in an environment of uncertainty. In the business world, many strategic planning processes have been based on the assumption that it was possible to forecast the future and then make some adjustments for risk. That has never been completely true, but in some businesses, for some of the time, it was true enough not to lead people astray.
Today, for the majority of businesses it is no longer true at all, and assuming it is means courting disaster.
The most popular term used to describe the current business environment is VUCA. First coined by the US Army War College in the 1990’s to describe the post-Cold War international environment, it stands for volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.
The implication of VUCA is that we face not risk, but radical uncertainty. Risks can be quantified. Uncertainties cannot be quantified. Indeed, not all of them can be identified. So in a VUCA world, you cannot make good predictions. The challenge is to nevertheless make good decisions.
This is the challenge agile strategy addresses. In turning strategy into action, that challenge amounts to closing three gaps.