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Created on 04.06.2020

VUCA: how a neologism challenges the real world of work

Our world of work is faced with volatility and complexity. Agile working is one response. This enables us to come up with rapid solutions that put the customer center stage. At PostFinance, this approach to work, which goes hand in hand with IT and business expertise, is not a peripheral issue. It is based on an agile mindset that is now firmly established in the company.

VUCA is a neologism that describes the world we work in: this world is characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. In this world, we need to look to the future and come up with solutions together that put the customer center stage. This requires creativity, speed and flexibility. VUCA is neither a trend nor a method. Rather, it is a sign of the times. But how exactly does a company like PostFinance navigate this world?

Agile working with an agile mindset

Crucial to responding to this VUCA world is an agile mindset coupled with an agile approach to work. Olivia Zimmermann is involved with PostFinance’s in-house project “Transformation into an agile, project-based operation” (TAP for short). “We need to be able to react to changes fast, to be agile and to roll out our products and services quicker. By doing so, we can generate value and make an impact faster.”

Combining disciplines to reach goals

In a VUCA world, time limitations mean that not all decisions can be made centrally anymore. This is why employees or teams close to the customer or the problem at hand are qualified to make quick decisions themselves. “When it comes to TAP, we work in agile, steady, interdisciplinary teams that generally consist of ICT experts as well as staff from specialist (business) units. One person assumes responsibility for helping the team to apply agile principles and practices. One key principle, for instance, is the need for regular feedback. This helps people learn quickly, and allows them to adapt to a potential change in circumstances,” explains Olivia Zimmermann. And so, IT and business expertise go hand in hand. 

Working towards the solution in small steps

With agile working, the focus is on the customer – no matter whether external or internal. Or, to put it another way, we always ask ourselves this one question: what will be of most benefit to the customer right now? To find answers, the teams work iteratively. This involves working towards the solution step by step, setting sub-goals in quick succession along the way. They start off with a minimal viable product (MVP)  and work on clearly defined objectives.

An open, courageous working environment

Agile working is challenging, exciting and rewarding. “It requires commitment, positivity, passion for the work, openness and courage. It also calls for social skills, such as being a good communicator and empathy,” Olivia Zimmermann explains. She believes a network mindset is what really matters here, rather than a linear one. Agile working relies on trust and transparency, and it creates a sense of purpose. Not least because the team members have to help each other and work towards their goal together. 

You can’t have agile working without an agile mindset

Agile working just isn’t possible without an agile mindset Back in 2018, PostFinance adopted Credo ONE as part of the cultural development program “move2digital”. It sets out the position that employees use to drive forward the digital transformation of PostFinance as a team: ONE stands for OPEN, NETWORK and ENGAGE. This new culture is not just about making the customers fans of PostFinance products, but instead doing this first and foremost for the employees. TAP is just one place out of many where this ethos is embodied on a daily basis. 

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