A couple of weeks ago I was listening to my sister as she was telling me about the major change she is making in her career. Amazingly, she is has left her job in the private healthcare sector and is going to retrain as a Yoga teacher. It was while I imagined her leading a group of people and encouraging them to perfect their yoga poses that I began to think about flexibility.
To be successful at yoga you have to work at being increasingly more flexible - some of those moves require physical flexibility that doesn't come overnight. Dedication and focus will take you a long way, which had me thinking about My Big Philosophy on the World of Work. I starting thinking about one of my useful beliefs, which is all about flexibility. No, not the kind you may be thinking of. It's not about flexible working hours or flexibility with skills deployment, and it's definitely not about being flexible about where you work. No, my useful belief is all about being flexible in the way you think and behave.
Imagine this situation - a piece of work needs doing and a group of people have been chosen to get the job done. They all have to work together to get the job done, but they all do different things, behave differently and are only focussed on getting their bit of the job done - sound familiar? Well, in the World of Work, My Big Philosophy is - Be the Flexible one, be the one that considers what is important to the others in the group and work with them to achieve their goals.
What??? Yes, you heard me right. Its an amazing thing, that when you become flexible in your thinking and behaviour, and take the time to find out what is important for others to achieve - and by doing so help them reach their goals, just that very piece of flexible behaviour will mean that your own goals will be met.
Not convinced? Let me give you a real life example. I often work as an L&D Consultant specialising in change projects in financial services. When I am given a job to do I have to work with business managers, subject matter experts, project managers, IT developers and Risk and Compliance officers. I could consider my role to be - 'Create a training course that teaches the affected staff how to learn that new process, or use the new software.' and of course, that is what I am there for!!! But that is not the whole story when it comes to how I work.
The task really starts when I put on my Flexible Work Yoga Master suit (not a real suit - that would be ridiculous) and I ask all of those stakeholders 'what's important to you in this project?' Well, the business manager wants staff who know what to do and to learn it without taking too much time out of the business to learn it. The project manager wants it ready in time and on budget, the SME wants the training to reflect the real job and the Risk guys want the content to follow the rules and support regulation. Most importantly, the learner wants a useful learning experience - and as for IT, well, they always do what they want......!!
So, now that I have been flexible in my thinking and behaviour by being curious about their goals, I can create a course that works for everyone. It will be concise and functional for the Business manager, it will pay attention to the important stuff in the role for the SME, it will be well planned and be finished in time for the Project manager and it will make sure regulation and the rules are followed, keeping Risk happy. And how does all this help me? Well, when it comes to getting everyone to sign off my material my stakeholders can see that their goals have been met, my flexibility will pay off and make for a smooth completion. My job, which is to create that useful learning journey, will be accepted and everyone wins, especially the learner.
In your World of Work, start being curious about other people's goals and become a Flexible Work Yoga Master to achieve your goals with ease by helping others reach theirs.