Navigating a rapidly changing, complex and uncertain world requires a special type of leadership. The course The Unknown Unknown, which is part of Stena's leadership program Ready 4 Anything, is about creating a platform and approach that allows us to prepare for things we don't even know we don't know.

In the rapidly changing, uncertain and complex VUCA world we live in, it can be difficult to even identify what is happening right now. This entails that the future will be even more difficult to predict.

“The Unknown Unknown is about preparing for things we don’t know we don’t know, creating an ability to recognize when it happens and to be there and maybe part of the solution when it happens,” says Josefin Södergård, Head of Strategic Capabilities at Stena AB, and responsible for the two-part module.

The first part is about creating a platform to stand on that is based on authentic leadership. 

“When you start out from authentic leadership, which is based on who you are as a person and leader, it becomes easier to lead in a world where you do not always know where you should go,” say Josefin Södergård. “At the same time, it will also be easier for others to follow you even if you change direction.”

So far, 25 leaders at Stena have completed the first part of the module. What is unique is that it contains elements of collaboration with horses – something that has proven completely unsurpassed when it comes to working with authentic leadership. 

“For quite some time, I had thought about how we could create a good course about authentic leadership. When I got the idea with horses, everything fell into place,” says Josefin Södergård. “I then came across a conference in Kazakhstan that gathered the world leaders in the field and journeyed there. Together with some of participants at the conference, we have now tailored a course for Stena.”

One of those who recently took the course is Niklas Fredriksson, Deputy CIO at Stena Long Term Equity.

“I strongly recommend that everyone who gets the opportunity to take the course does so,” says Niklas Fredriksson. “For my part, it has given me aha-experiences beyond the ordinary, which I think everyone will experience. I also liked that there was such a clear connection between theory and practice, and to one’s own work, regardless of the leadership role one has.”

In addition to The Unknown Unknown, he has also completed the modules Exploring the golden minds and Gain or drain within the framework of Stena’s leadership program Ready 4 Anything.

“All the courses have been a great way of exploring and developing one’s leadership in a secure and stimulating environment,” says Niklas Fredriksson. “It has also been quite fun and useful with all the exercises and being able to get direct feedback and concrete tips. All in all, it has given me a good understanding of how to develop successful leadership together with other leaders at Stena.”

The second module in The Unknown Unknown is virtual and will begin with a pilot course in the autumn. 

“This is more about mindset and behavior, pushing boundaries and being in arenas where you usually are not,” Josefin Södergård explains.

Josefin Södergård & Niklas Fredriksson

The leadership program Ready 4 Anything is developing Stena’s leaders for the future

Leaders at Stena are responsible for developing the capabilities of their employees, the business and themselves, which requires new skills when the world around us is so volatile. The new leadership program Ready 4 Anything (R4A) is another step on the way to developing Stena’s leaders so that they can capture the opportunities of the future. The program is divided into six modules, conducted on an ongoing basis and are intended for all leaders at Stena.


VUCA is a way of describing the rapidly changing and uncertain world we live in, and to which we need to adapt and relate. The concept was originally developed by the military and has since then been adopted throughout businesses and organizations in many industries and sectors to guide leadership and strategy planning. 

The VUCA world is

Conditions are changing so fast that it is difficult to predict what will happen next. 

There is a great deal of uncertainty even about the present, which makes it even more difficult to predict the future.

The causal relationships are complicated and also include unknown factors.

The information available – if it even exists – is often ambiguous and can be interpreted in several ways.


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