Flexibility 101: A Primer for Small Business

As a manager of several small businesses I am constantly scanning my organization to identify and amplify best practices. One particular quality stands out to me of late as being critical to building a successful organization: flexibility.

A growing small business is typically typically a dynamic environment. Small businesses, like their larger counterparts, live and die by their ability to adapt to a changing marketplace and labor pool. The advantage they have, however, is found in the speed at which they can change.

I am proud of my team in this regard, for they’ve consistently demonstrated a remarkable poise in the face of change. I am confident that in the face of need or changing factors, whether externally or internally precipitated, I can shuffle job titles, reassign tasks or move the entire organization in a new direction with no fuss, no muss.

Those in my companies trust me in making the strategic decisions I must make and I trust in their ability to take the tactical steps necessary to get the job done with diplomacy and grace. None of us are our jobs after all, and to base your identify on what you do is to risk the death of who you thought you were every time your job title or responsibility shifts.

If you look at it this way, there is no job title or job description that could adequately describe or encompass the magnificent being who you are. This is not to pump you up artificially or appeal to your ego, in fact, in my experience I find that most people are terribly afraid of having to live up to the high standard that such an identity requires. They will over time, but it takes a fair amount of work to get them there.

A company is doing nothing if it is not building better people and helping them live more creative, productive lives. And for me, here and now, that means sharing this little message about one of the most important skills you can have as an individual desirous of so living, working and being: flexibility.

4 thoughts on “Flexibility 101: A Primer for Small Business

  1. Coco

    I’ve come to realize those times when my flexibility was lacking or I was thrown by change what really was being threatened was my ability to feel I had control in the situation. Thankfully through the years I’ve witnessed the power of change. It’s an integral part of an onward and upward trajectory. It’s powered by love from the Omnipotent. When I try to corral it or subvert it I’m in essence saying I am the originator of the power of change. Trying to prevent change is as foolish as trying to make the Earth rotate more slowly. Harmonizing with change is flexibility and the means to an amazing journey. Great post, thank you.

  2. Zach

    Flexibility is encouraged when you respect your people enough to let them make the tactical decisions without micromanagement. I have seen certain office environments where no trust is given and nothing more than the basics are expected; this is no way to work or to live. True fulfillment is only available when you are expanding and filling up the current circumstance. Flexibility is not only encouraged when this happens, it is required. An artificial constraint on movement will discourage, and especially for those people who are really motivated.

  3. Chuck Reddick

    One of the causes of decay in a company is lack of flexibility. It is often hidden by restrictive thoughts such as “we have always done it this way” or the complacency
    that takes place when one (a company and/or an individual) feels that “we have it made now” or “our niche in the marketplace is established now”. I have unfortunately seen that attitude lead to ultimate bankruptcy and out of business by some of the major corporations of my time. You might say that the lack of flexibility stems from arrogance.

    On the other hand, companies such as yours Gregg, that encourage flexibility and change will continue to find more and better ways to offer more value to the marketplace, which not only means more value for your clients but also for those who trust you with their career, your employees.

  4. kol

    Yes, this is such an important aspect of ourselves. Without flexibility, we will break and crack with change and if there’s one thing that is certain… change is inevitable. So, even enlightened self interest should reveal the importance of fluid movement and the ability to recalibrate based on the task at hand.

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