Endaba hosted an event on 13th September where we discussed "Leading through uncertainty and building your inner agility" and it was our great pleasure to partner with Jessie Pavelka, Co-founder of Pavelka who provide tailored health and well-being programmes.

The first part of the discussion included being comfortable with the discomfort of uncertainty and how the pace of change can spell stress as we are living through this technological revolution. As leaders we need to pay greater attention to the physical, emotional and mental well-being of individuals as well as the health of the organisation. We need to fundamentally re-evaluate our approach and have a unified framework to recalibrate the system.

For many years we have talked about this VUCA world we are in (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) but this is not the problem – it is our relationship with the problem that’s the problem, not the problem itself! To that end, we need to change the conversation.

  • Changing the conversation using the VUCA acronym
    • Volatility to Vulnerability – because vulnerability is the new courage
    • Uncertainty to Unity – is all about coherence, consistency, cohesiveness and sustainability
    • Complexity to Confidence – is about belief, trust, assurance, respect and acceptance, in and of ourselves, others and what is being created
    • Ambiguity to Agility – is about being nimble, quick, adaptable, efficient, flexible “fleet of foot” and resilient
  • Actionable guidance and leadership ideas
    • We need to be truly visionary, creative, empathetic, compassionate, flexible, aware and resilient
    • Ensure that everyone feels personally and emotionally involved with a shared vision, purpose and strategy
    • Create high aspirations, be bold, deliberate, imaginative and inventive
    • Listen from a place of not knowing – it is OK not to know everything and it is OK not to have all of the answers
    • Ask daring and challenging questions to shift the uncertainty
    • Be absolutely clear, open, honest and transparent when communicating and ensure you are understood
    • The “Servant Leader” is the leadership model required now
    • Take risks, fail fast and cheap!
  • Health and well-being of the organisation
    • Organisational culture makes it possible – we as leaders are the architects of culture. It has to be embodied throughout the whole organisation
    • Be as rigorous in managing the health of the organisation as you would the P&L – there is much evidence between the health of an organisation and its performance
    • Consider the behaviours that are contributing to organisational health and maintain a consistent and coherent approach – are you being a role model for these behaviours?
    • Uncertainty can create anxiety which can lead to stress which can lead to ill health

This is about thriving and developing a new relationship with uncertainty so that we can be comfortable with the discomfort of it and enjoy the ride!



  • Building self-worth and self-confidence
  • What does it mean to be healthy?
    • Physically, you can ‘see’ healthy, but it is the weight you can’t see that sits in your heart, your mind, your back - this makes it hard to feel good
    • Allow yourself and know when to be vulnerable, this is strength
  • Redefine the meaning of ‘health’ and challenge the preconceptions - it has to have more meaning and focus
  • We must consider mental, emotional, spiritual well-being in order to really make sense of it - each and every one of us needs to take responsibility for openness
  • When it all gets too much think of something ‘bigger’ to put things in perspective
  • Create a routine built on little actions each day
  • Plug into ‘ME’ not a device
  • Focus on health, both physical and mental


  • Exercise the ‘Four Elements’ to achieve ‘True Health’:
    • EAT  - Fuelling your day, create a sustainable mood, build a healthy relationship with yourself
    • SWEAT - Outside of the head and into your body, step away from the chaos, go for a walk – you deserve to ‘feel good’!
    • THINK - Growing EQ, the mind is a part of your body you can exercise, exercise mindfulness
    • CONNECT - Relationships, connecting to other people at work or home, get to know people around you