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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Kreisman

Impact of the Pandemic - Leading in a VUCA World

These are very challenging times, and over the past few weeks we have heard from many of our students, alums, friends and family members indicating that their worlds have become more Volatile, Uncertain, full of Change and very Ambiguous (VUCA) as a result of the Coronavirus. Those of you who had Scott (McLagan) as a faculty member know he refers to these as components of a “VUCA World.”

VUCA is actually a military term which over time, moved into the business and non-profit sectors to explain the vital need to adapt to a rapidly changing global environment.  

Some of you have reached out to us (Scott and Barb) to say that you’ve lost your job; that your industry is about to “go under”; that you need advice regarding “next steps” or just to connect. Some of you are managing large groups of people and you are feeling the intense pressure of leadership; others of you are engaged in small entrepreneurial ventures or non-profits.

For years, the mission of the Executive MBA program at the University of Denver, was “to create a workforce for a world that does not exist”. That was a challenging endeavor, but one in which we as educators, readily embraced. Little did we know that the world we’d become accustomed to would change so dramatically and quickly.

As a result of what has happened in the marketplace and the world as a whole, we want to provide a forum to share information and create a dialogue with our former students, colleagues and friends who are seeking reliable, centralized information on how to best operate during these turbulent times. Therefore, Scott and I, am launching an electronic newsletter entitled “Intergistic Intel” which will include content gathered, curated and synthesized from a vast array of resources. Topics may focus on: Ways in which the brain works under stress; communication processes to help you manage through this time; ethical dilemmas; emotional intelligence; the financial impact of the pandemic and career related concerns.  Dr. Dawn Graham, Author of the book, “Career Switchers” has agreed to share materials with us. She is the Career Director for the Executive MBA Program at Wharton and is also a PhD alum from DU.

We will highlight large and small organizations alike, but mostly we want to help connect you to one another during these difficult times. “Intergistic” comes from the combination of the words “synergy”, “integration” and “energy”. See our websites at and

No one knows how we will emerge from this crisis or what our “new normal” will look like. We do know however, that people are seeking for resources and we want to help by providing them.

This is not a DU sponsored endeavor, but rather one in which I (Barb) am opting for now that I am retired and an Emerita Professor of the Practice in the Daniels College. See retirement story:  Daniels Business Spring 2020 Magazine, pp, 44-45.

There is no cost for the newsletter and we are not trying to generate business outside the context of the University. All I ask is that if you have information you’d like shared amongst your colleagues, please pass your suggestions on to me. As some of you know, I (Barb) have been very active in LinkedIn responding to posts and highlighting them for greater visibility. If you have information you would like to share regarding your company, your career, or other facets of your life, I want to highlight you using this new communication tool. I would love to include monthly feature stories displaying the unique work or travel of our former students.


Contact Us

Send information to me directly via or and I will publish as space permits.

Barb Kreisman, PhD., Professor Emerita

Scott McLagan, Professor of Practice

Daniels College of Business,  University of Denver


VUCA Thrive

The acronym VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) was originally introduced in the US Army War College in the early 90’s to describe the shift to asymmetrical and multilateral challenges for the military following the Cold War. Since then, it has been used more broadly to help describe the challenging context many organizations are facing today—one of accelerating change and disruption.


Intergistic Solutions

Intergistic Solutions is a unique Management Consulting firm. Our partners have extensive and diverse real-world backgrounds coupled with significant

consulting and coaching experience. We have a broad range of tools and methodologies to facilitate more efficient and effective engagement.

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