BUSINESSES THAT CARE PODCAST

The Importance of Flexibility on the Path to Success with Julie Ann Sullivan

flexibility

In this episode, I talk about the importance of flexibility. Being flexible is having the ability to adapt to new, different and changing environments. Since our world is constantly in flux, the skill of flexibility is mandatory for a successful and happy life.

In today’s quickly changing world, the ability to think and act differently is essential. This can be applied to every aspect of your personal and professional life.  To point out the necessity of this skill, let me ask you this.  Have you ever had a day completely go according to what your plan was? Probably not.  Most of you don’t live in isolation, so there are thousands of factors every day that can change your plans.  Even a hermit in the woods relies on the weather and nature for their shelter and food supply.

Factors that are completely out of your control are what make life interesting. Or you can look at it as annoying.  It IS your choice.  In your work environment flexibility is useful every day.  It allows you to flow with the many different situations that might arise in a single day. No matter what your job description is and how much training you have, you cannot be prepared for every outcome.  So, there are going to be surprises.  Think about how you react to those situations.  Do you panic, think and act, or merely react?

People who are more adaptable to change can move beyond the glitches that life serves up daily.  I suggest supplying training for your workforce so that they can respond more positively in atypical situations.  It is worth the reduction in the amount of stress your worker’s experience.  And, your customers benefit as well with better customer service.

Flexibility can be of the body or mind. The less we physically move, the harder it is for our body to be flexible.  When you live your life with little or no opportunity to have a different perspective, that is how you lose the flexibility of your mind.  You have the ability to change that by the choices you make.  Be ready because it will be a choice you make over and over again. It could be as simple as which toothpaste to buy when they don’t have the brand you like, to having a customer change their mind about what they want.  If you put the importance of toothpaste into a world view, that choice becomes much easier.  When you are graciously accommodating to your customers, their appreciation will definitely help you win future business.

Another way to be flexible is to accept that each individual is unique in your workforce.  Take the initiative to communicate through different means, whether auditory, visual or some combination of both. I once had a client that had her workmate email her from the cubicle right next to her.  That drove her crazy. My suggestion was to ask her colleague to talk to her directly.  It turns out the person sending the emails thought she didn’t want to be bothered.  Communication is key.

At another company I worked with, we made a list of how each team leader preferred to receive communication.  We made a matrix with the phone, in person, or email and had each leader rank them by preference. It was eye-opening and very helpful.  Now their teams knew better how to get the information they needed quickly.

Here’s another way to be flexible at work.  Create an area where folks can gather informally to collaborate, instead of signing up for the conference room next week at 11:15 for 45 minutes. Rigidity is not conducive to spontaneous, creative thought.  Training yourself to be more flexible, even in minor situations, trains your brain that you can deal with larger modifications in your routine.  So how can you do that?  The next time you go to work, drive a different way.  Walk a different path.  Try a few flights of stairs.  If you take lunch the same time every day, go earlier or later.  Eat with someone new.  Read a book on a new subject, even if it doesn’t seem to interest you. Then take note as to what you do learn and how it’s helpful.  Listen to a different type of music.  Change your routine at work and see if you are more efficient and productive.  You can use this as a team exercise.  New successful ideas will assist everyone in doing their work more efficiently and effectively.

Every time you take a deliberate different action from your ordinary routine you are telling yourself that you CAN be flexible.  Then, when you come into work and find out someone has left or there is a new person that will be guiding your work, it will be easier to not jump to conclusions or decide it’s all negative without really knowing. The more rigid your life is, the more difficult it is to navigate.  Flexibility adds ease to everything.  It’s also encouraging to being open to new ideas and actions to take.

Tony Robbins said it best, “Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.”

Go out there and see what you can gain from trying something new.

Please share your discoveries with me.

If you need help, call me at 724-942-0486 and let’s create a workplace where new ideas, constructive adjustments and praise are the norms.

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