How to Conquer Workplace Dilemmas

There are many challenging situations that could potentially arise in any workplace and disrupt a company’s equilibrium. To prepare for how to address these possible issues, leaders must understand and identify the most common hurdles.

These instances, typically referred to as dilemmas, can be defined as situations or challenges with two opposing forces, each with distinct advantages and disadvantages.  To be successful, a leader must develop strategies that consistently tap the maximum value of both forces over time while minimizing the disadvantages of both.

Given the context of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) as described in AchieveForum’s Strategic Speed research, rational and logical problem solving are only partially effective for companies.  Instead, leaders must consider the potential dilemmas they will encounter when implementing change or strategy in this context and how to actively manage them.

When implementing change and strategy, we create a vision of the future that creates tension with the current operational reality. Leaders must recognize and acknowledge this to actively manage the tension and associated dilemmas they encounter as they transition from today’s reality towards tomorrow.

The seven key dilemmas leaders must actively manage are as follows. If you are leading the implementation of change or strategy and you want to plan for success, you must:

  • Understand what VUCA means for you and your business
  • Clarify the connections and priorities between the change and strategic agenda
  • Acknowledge the context and focus on the upside and the opportunities it presents
  • Help build day-to-day capability for strategic speed— creating clarity, building unity and fostering agility
  • Use your informal, formal, collaborative and social networks to influence and monitor implementation
  • Have a plan, as change is everywhere and everyone is in transition
  • Build ownership for change at all levels of the organization
  • Use the team to understand the assumptions that underlie plans and check and update them at regular milestones
  • Adopt and agree on a flexible process for your change or strategy implementation
  • Realize that leadership agility and discipline is more important than ever so ensure you identify and actively manage your implementation dilemmas


Actively managing these dilemmas provides an important opportunity to involve all your stakeholders in finding common ground. It also allows leaders to understand how they are impacting the individuals in their companies. Acquainting yourself with the list of key dilemmas will help you to swiftly and effectively manage any situation with minimal disruption to your workflow and productivity.

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