top of page



Leadership in a BANI world

Franz Herrlein

A fast changing world requires business leaders to quickly adapt to new situations.

BANI? Never heard? How about VUCA? And what are the differences? And more important, how to deal with any ot these concepts to explain our fast changing world?

Let's start with VUCA, a concept which initially was used by the US military to describe the world after the end of the cold war (and still is used widely) over many years to describe the world we live in: VUCA, meaning Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. Nothing new, many of us got used to it.

But, since a few years BANI has entered the stage. Describing our world as Brittle, Anxious, Non-Linear and Incomprehensible.

So, where does BANI come from? The creator of BANI is Jamais Cascio, an American anthropologist, futurist, and author. Driven by the by the various crises we all are experiencing -e.g. climate and political crisis, pandemic or maybe in general global instability- Cascio concluded that  VUCA was no longer the right terminology for todays fast changing world, therefore reolacing it with BANI. 

Never mind. VUCA od BANI - the question is how to deal with it. How to operate in a fast moving and fast changing environment in which many leaders may feel like run fast is not even enough just to keep still.

From our point of view traditional leadership models are not the right ones to act in the future.

What will be essential for leaders is to develop a common shared purpose with their teams. People need to understand their role, what they are responsible for, what's in for them and why things matter. Otherwise they won't follow. 

In addition leaders will have to step down from traditional roles moving towards servant leadership, allowing collaboration and giving space to their team. This also includes role changes in sense of agility meaning the capables one takes the lead. 

In such a world there is no place left for traditional leadership by hierarchy. 

Well, all this requires a lot of self reflection and awareness from leaders and the willingness to life long learning. And changing. Communication skills will become more and more important since leading by communicating from the top will not work any longer. 

Do today's leaders have to be worried about all this? No! Those who are ready to adjust to the new real will discover that leadership in turbulant times becomes more important than before. 

More challenging probably but at the same time more satisfying when people follow their leaders through difficult times. Because they want not because they have to.

bottom of page