Baloney is a luncheon meat made from pork. Bulloney is a luncheon meat made from BULL.

A bunch of baloney is defined as falsehoods, nonsense and foolishness. Although the word Bulloney does not appear in my dictionary, I define it as a level above falsehoods, nonsense and foolishness that is simply a bunch of BULL.

Now that I have created a new word (Bulloney), let me explain why. I recently came upon the term BANI (brittle/anxious/non-linear/incomprehensible) where it was suggested that BANI was a step forward beyond the over 30-year-old term VUCA.

At the most basic level BANI is just plain silly. At its most dangerous, BANI is a diversion from the importance of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). BANI advocates make three mistakes.

Number one is that in the definition of BANI, the creators refer to “uncertainty.” But the U in VUCA covers uncertainty, and there is no “U” in BANI.

Number two is the term brittle. I did a video in 2019 (Anti-Brittle: Succeeding and Flourishing in these Uncertain and Volatile Times) on being anti-brittle. That was a great video at the time (pre-pandemic era). But the term “brittle” does not come anywhere close to replacing the reality of the volatility we have seen over the last several years.

Number 3 are the definitions of anxious, non-linear and incomprehensible.

  • Anxious: The term “anxious” reflects being fearful, which is not how I see today’s executives. A better word, if you wanted to include this concept, would be how leaders feel about volatility and uncertainty. They are eager, not anxious. They understand today’s world and, instead of being afraid, they look forward to tackling volatility and uncertainty. If you think today’s leaders are fearful, you do not understand today’s leaders – at least the ones who welcome challenges as opportunities.
  • Non-linear: The correct thought here goes to the original VUCA of being “complex.” Yes, the future will be a departure, not a continuation, of the past. But the reality is that some trends will be linear while others will be nonlinear. So, the point is not linear or nonlinear but rather the complexity of the future.
  • Incomprehensible: A quick search of the terms “incomprehensible” and “ambiguity” finds that they are synonyms. So “enhancement” of VUCA really does not add anything.

So, in conclusion:

  • Volatility is more descriptive of today than brittle.
  • Uncertainty is a key topic here, not “anxious.”
  • Complexity is where we are today, not “non-linear.”
  • Ambiguity and incomprehensible are the same, so who cares.

Therefore, BANI is Bulloney. VUCA is today’s reality. Let’s stop with the attempts at creating new Bulloney and rather get onto addressing VUCA.

— Jim Tompkins