Get Flexible At Work
This article isn't about flexible hours or even flexible locations. This is about being flexible at work.
We all know the coworkers that repeat one or both of these phrases regularly. "We've always done it this way" or "that's not my job."
If you're a flexible person you're repulsed by these phrases because you find sheer joy in solving the latest work crisis and learning new skills all while helping clients and coworkers.
Because flexible means to grow.
When asked about her personal definition of flexibility Carrie Parris, Product Leader at Amazon Go, said "Being flexible is how you achieve anything important. It liberates the 'how' of your plan from the 'what' of your goal. The more clarity you have with your goal, the more flexible you can be in how you reach it .... Water finds its way down the hill by breaking around the rocks, not pushing through them. We have to think like water. "
It's great thought leaders like this that understand flexibility is key to reaching any goal.
My personal flexibility rules of thumb are as follows:
Good Ideas Are Everywhere
The least experienced employee in your organization may have the best ideas or the worst but assuming either is being short-sighted. Know that ideas come from everywhere in a company and be open to receiving them from anyone you may encounter.
Growth Comes From Change
In the eyes of a flexible person they see change as a path to learning and further career advancement. Once you embrace change in your organization for it's true meaning (increased output, productivity, earnings, etc) you become known as a team player and someone who will lead change throughout the company.
Listen to Understand, Not to Reply
Last week I touched on this in my listening series but it bears repeating as it's also how the flexible person thinks.
Listen fully when someone is speaking. Don't interrupt until their entire thought is out as you may find at the very end of their long diatribe they share your feelings. You will also gain respect for listening.
Sit on your hands, take notes, whatever you have to do but don't interrupt. Just listen.
If you feel you've mastered the rules above why not then take the the reinvention challenge.
It's easy to get caught up in the WHAT and forget the WHY entirely. We use a particular solution for so long we forget why we use the tools we use.
Take a report or set of steps/processes you created and have your team reinvent it.
Layout the end goal (the why) for the report or process.
Let them ask limitless questions
Give them a timeline for completion (start with a smaller report or process so that this initial challenge can be completed in a week or two).
I want to hear how this goes. Did your team streamline a process for you? Did you find out your team ended up with a better understanding of their role? Please let me know!