Thursday, December 24, 2015

Three Questions to Assess a Person’s Flexibility

Dynamic digital organizations cannot operate with inflexible minds and unchanging people.

Digital organizations today are hyperconnected and over-complex, with well mixed physical workplace and virtual team setting; multicultural, multi-generational, and multi-devicing workforce. The organization of the future is a business designed openly for anyone with ideas on how human organizations ought to be contrived in the face of the strategic imperatives of the 21st century. The work is not the place you go, but a live organization and an experiment lab you can connect the future dots. Thus, flexibility has emerged as one of the important characteristics of both digital leaders and professionals. But how to assess a person’s flexibility via questioning?

Are you flexible to embrace the different POVs and alternative way to do things?  Though the meaning of the word flexibility, in general, more refers to physical movement capable of being bent, without breaking; from the psychology perspective, it is about the adaptation to the changes, the alternative way to do the things; and the resilience to  survive or thrive from the failures. A flexible mind loves choices, enjoys making differences; feels comfortable to be unique and welcomes the diversity of thoughts as a fountain of creativity. One of the biggest challenges in this complex digital world is the fact that we need different perspectives, different knowledge and different ways to solve a problem. Sometimes there is no "one" answer: there are some, or many: That is why what is first of all needed is to think as a team via embracing the collective wisdom. Thus, a flexible mind is not restricted to rigid processes and challenge conventional way to do things. People with a flexible mind can work as a team more seamlessly, but also professionally, such team or working environment encourages collaborative thinking, builds adaptability to create mutual interest communities, to identify common, yet flexible process focuses on outcomes without micromanagement and creates a sense of urgency as well.

Is a creative mind more flexible, or a flexible person more creative? Flexibility is a mental process which results in an action that tests a possible solution. Things either work or they do not. That action is creativity. The traits of innovation include: simply about how flexible people can see what's around easily and effortlessly discover a better way to do it. It’s easy to say you are flexible or playful and have a lot of innovative desire, but within the walls of an organization, the overly hierarchical culture still stifles innovation. Flexible leadership means the vision to foresight the future trend ahead, and the creativity to solving the problem on the way. Digital leadership is not only about being flexible for the ability to learn and adapt to new responsibilities, but also and above all, in the effectiveness of its initiatives, the creativity with which complex problems are solved, in actively seeking feedback on its effectiveness. Together, these flexible teams, with extensive experience, are resolute, responsive, adaptive, able to speed up the decision-making process and alternative way to do things.

Is flexibility a type of entrepreneurial attitude or a trait of learning agility?  The digital transformation is shaping work from being a place you go during set hours to something you do in a dynamic, increasingly hybrid workplace. Technology has enabled new possibilities for the where, when and how of work. Digital also increases the agility with which the organization is able to correct itself through agile cultures, such as entrepreneurial attitude, the lens of diversity, and tolerance of ambiguity. See the world through the eyes of others. By understanding alternative perspectives, adaptive leaders cultivate and embrace the cognitive diversity that underpins adaptive organizations. And it marks an inflection point in the ways careers are built, work is done and participation in organizations is fostered. And a flexible organization is built to achieve high-performing result with agility and resilience.

Dynamic and changing digital organizations cannot operate with inflexible minds and unchanging people. People must first be open to seeing and understanding what stifles creativity in their surroundings, the fixed mindsets, overly rigid processes, bureaucratic culture, or command-control leadership, etc., and then they can each hold accountability on their own thoughts, beliefs, and action. So the organization as a whole can be more adapt to changes, innovative to overcome challenges, resilient to recover from unexpected setbacks and digital disruptions, and more focus on building a set of differentiated digital capabilities in running a high-effective and high-mature digital organization.


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