Taking a Strengths approach into the unknown with VUCA

unknown way forward VUCA

During turbulent times, focusing on your strengths can really help you find a clear way forward. Something that Cascade is perfectly designed to help with. However, what if you went a step further? Try combing a strengths approach with an additional model. One ideally placed to help you calmly and confidently navigate through chaos and confusion.

Strengths coach, Mary Ann Grisham, does exactly this. She uses Cascade alongside VUCA, which stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. All key causes of confusion. By unpacking each of these four aspects, in turn, Mary Ann helps her clients to focus on what is known and what is controllable. As the path ahead emerges, she works with them to explore how their specific strengths can work to their advantage. Resulting in a clear and positive way forward in challenging situations.

We asked her to explain how and why this process works so well:

VUCA with a Strengths Advantage

“We live in a disrupted world full of uncertainty, complexity, and anxiety. But I believe there’s also a profound hunger to connect on a deeper human level. Now, more than ever before, coaches have a significant opportunity to guide individuals and businesses. We can help them find fresh ways of inspiring optimism, sparking creativity and strengthening collaboration. 

Cascade strengths advantage VUCA

“Recently I’ve had opportunities to use the Cascade Theme Advantage VUCA worksheet. Richard Sterry, the creator of Cascade, designed this simple yet brilliant tool. It helps individuals explore how they can utilize their natural God-given strengths. Furthermore, it empowers them to tackle difficulties with greater confidence. It also gives them the ability to recognize the power and edge they bring.

“The US military developed VUCA in the 1990’s. It stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. It is designed to help break down a situation into what you know and what you can control. By understanding these elements of confusion, I find people can make clearer, confident decisions. Therefore pursuing mindful leadership in times of chaos.

“As a Gallup CliftonStrengths® coach, I’ve found using the Theme Advantage VUCA worksheet has resulted in some penetrating encounters. Especially during this unprecedented time. It’s really brought clarity to hard situations.

Applying Strengths

“One very memorable encounter was with a young man during the height of the pandemic when there was also much civil unrest. He realized that his #1 strength of Restorative™ was an incredible asset to his business, his community, and to HIMSELF! In fact, I think bringing his own personal restoration was the hardest part but the best part of the battle.

VUCA challenges you to find your own way in times of combat. CliftonStrengths® helps you see how you can go about it. Above all, with Cascade’s Theme Advantage worksheets, you will create confident agility, stronger resiliency and a path forward.


Mary Ann Grisham

Mary Ann Grisham is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach from Oklahoma, US. As part of the Grisham Coaching Group LLC, she brings builds a transformative culture of honor, productivity and growth for individuals, groups and families.

For more information, visit grishamcoachinggroup.com

Mary Ann Grisham Gallup Certified Strengths Coach

Cascade is a tool for Gallup Strengths Coaches providing elegant team and individual reports for coaching sessions. Created by Releasing Strengths Ltd in the UK. More information is available at releasingstrengths.com/cascade. See the Theme Advantage page.

The CliftonStrengths® assessment identifies 34 themes of innate talent, enabling people to thrive and playing to their best self. Find out more at www.gallup.com/cliftonstrengths

VUCA is an acronym for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. It helps individuals navigate turbulent times. Read more at www.vuca-world.org