This exchange during a recent LinkedIn Live discussion hosted by Robert Shrimsley of the Financial Times perfectly illustrates the current state of flexible, hybrid execution in organizations.
Leaders are grappling with how to navigate the very real tension between what people want and how to operate their business in a flexible dynamic way that achieves performance AND well-being.
At minute 27, Shrimsley sets up the challenge with this question, “Are we in danger of being a little bit fluffy?…Of course, we want to be as helpful as we can to employees but we actually have business needs and can’t lose sight of that. Thoughts?”
The responses from the panel:
–you need to be human-centric in how you lead or people will not work for you, and that includes giving them the flexibility they expect and want.
–yes, but it has to work for the business too. We have a business to run, customers to service, and salaries to pay.
Finally, an agreement that ultimately it needs to be BOTH.
Yes, but then HOW DO YOU DO THAT? That’s the $64,000 question. This threading of the “both/and” needle will be the next-stage of execution.
Here’s the good news — the process for executing a flexible operating model is NOT NEW.
What’s new is the scale at which it’s happening and a different leader/employee dynamic driving the change:
Pre-pandemic flexible work transformation was led by a visionary leader who had to bring their workforce along and show them they could do it. There weren’t that many of those leaders but we’ve been fortunate enough to work side-by-side with them for years.
Now, it’s the workforce that knows they can do it forcing EVERY leader to be more visionary about how, when and where work can be done.
Again, the good news is, once leaders make the leap, the roadmap to translate that vision into a reality that works for the business AND people exists. And the even better news is the performance, engagement and well-being you will unlock make taking that leap worth it.
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