Not everyone is flexible (and I don’t mean physical flexibility). We have all experienced the frustration of attempting to cut through red tape, only to be stopped at every turn by someone whose sole purpose in life seems to be making everyone else’s life difficult. We usually don’t walk away from those experiences with a very high opinion of the people, organizations or processes involved.
Plans can be good. Processes can be good. Attempting to enforce tried and true ways of getting things done and documenting them to a reasonable degree is good. But so is being flexible enough to evaluate the current situation, apply a little judgment and common sense, and then stray from the planned or normal path if needed in the interest of doing what is best for all concerned.
The thought comes to mind today because of news I got this morning that potentially impacts plans I have to start teaching a new class in August. I think it will still happen, but suddenly I have a far smaller group to start with than originally thought. When given the update, my response was to suggest that we just play it by ear the next few weeks to see how things unfold this month regarding the potential audience. We can adjust our plans as needed as the August start date approaches.
As someone coming up on his ninth anniversary at a large, Fortune 100 company, I’ve seen my share of processes that morph into monsters over time with all the flexibility of petrified wood. From my perspective as one responsible for our social media presence in a fast-moving world, those processes sometime hold us back from communicating and responding in ways that best serve the public and the immediate expectations of our customers. Over time, I hope that will change for the better. I don’t expect a large ship to turn on a dime, but I do expect it to turn when needed.
In personal matters, in business processes as well as other aspects of government and society, we’ll all be a bit better off if we keep in mind the value of leap year lesson #180 – Be flexible.