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TLS Continuum Part 12: VUCA and the TLS Continuum: Are they incompatible?

I am currently reading a must read for all HR professionals, The Rise of HR: Wisdom from 73 Thought Leaders*, which was recently released by the Human Resource Certification Institute. It makes the case for the fact that the HR space has changed to one centered in VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous). The contributors further suggest that this changed environment requires us to view our human capital assets as working on projects rather than jobs. They also suggest that six sigma and process standardization are from a past era. This brings us to the subject of this post. Are the methodologies of the TLS Continuum incompatible with the world of VUCA?

This VUCA world we find ourselves in requires an organization to be able to quickly respond to rapid changes in the global workplace. They need to undertake this change with no clear path as to where it will take you and these changes are not simple or clearly laid out. The argument presented in the Rise of HR is that the creation of a standardized process constrains HR from utilizing the TLS continuum or like efforts to create change within your organization. I would disagree with that and here is why.

1) Job to Project

If the authors are correct and I am not disputing that they are, then the move from jobs to projects present some critical factors. For one projects are best handled by cross-functional teams working to resolve an issue. This means that silo solutions are definitely out of vogue. Project teams work best under the premises of project management. The TLS Continuum lays out the roadmap for successful projects

 2) New marketplace requires the ability to rapidly resolve surprise changes

There is no question that the volatility in the workplace calls for fast action. That is what the proponents of Lean call for. That is the basis of the Lean segment of the TLS Continuum. The drawback to some is that the creation of standardized processes slows down the ability to create change. However experiencing rapid change without a set process to resolve issues creates further volatility. The TLS Continuum provides the vehicle to manage the volatility through a standard problem resolving procedure.

3) The marketplace is full of uncertainty

I have long presented the evidence that when an organization begins the steps to resolve a problem the process is full of uncertainty. The TLS Continuum is based on a creditable, verifiable process to resolve issues. What it does not have is a pre-determined ending. The organization will face the uncertainty whether you use the TLS Continuum or just wing it to find solutions to your pressing problems. The TLS Continuum provides the road map to deal with uncertainty.

 4) The marketplace is complex

If the marketplace and all its surrounding issues were simple we would not have issues. Everything in your organization would flow smoothly without issues. How boring would that be? The scientific method and likewise the TLS Continuum tells us how to appropriately deal with the complex world we live in. The TLS Continuum provides the weaponry to deal with the elephant in your organization.

 5) The marketplace is ambiguous

It is not just our organizations but also the whole world that is unclear. Each action can have several different meanings. We introduce big data and it generates a whole new set of suppositions about the world. We introduce change to an organization and we have no way of knowing if we are going to be successful. Just because we are confronted with this untidy world does not mean we can go off in a random method to deal with the ambiguity. The TLS Continuum provides us with the framework to deal with the ambiguity. It provides you with a roadmap to help clarify the issues confronting your organization.

 The answer to the opening proposition as to whether VUCA and the TLS Continuum are incompatible is crystal clear. While we are in a VUCA world the TLS Continuum provides a clear roadmap to deal with the VUCA issues. It helps us to clarify where we are going and why we are going there. Without the roadmap we would migrate to a world where the goal is to throw as much as we can up against the wall and see what sticks. That is not the way to positively bring about cultural change within your organization. That comes from a clear problem solving method that has demonstrated its power for many organizations. That problem solving method is the TLS Continuum.

* As you know, Daniel Bloom & Associates, Inc advocates the inclusion of the six sigma methodology to HR for the purpose of improving the productivity of organizations. Our CEO holds the SPHR designation issued by the Human Resource Certification Institute. We receive no remuneration for the inclusion of The Rise of HR in this post. But rest assured that Daniel Bloom, our CEO, would never endorse something that he doesn’t like and believe in. He would never endorse anything for a commission that he wouldn’t endorse for free. (As he often does.) If you have an issue with any of this, please feel free to shop somewhere else. For questions, visit or call 727-581-6216.


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