Welcome to 2022! The year I believe leaders, line managers, teams and individual employees have the opportunity to come together and ask:
- “What’s best about the way we worked then, pre-pandemic?”
- “What’s best about the way we’ve been working now?”
- “What’s the best way we can work next?”
Then execute that vision of high performance flexibility in a culture of trust and shared leadership.
As those of you who follow our work know, not only is it possible, but we’ve helped make it happen many times, before COVID and over the past almost two years since the pandemic began.
In the new year, we are excited to help others do the same by simplifying the system of change and accelerating the learning curve to achieve strategic, flexible work success!
To get the process started, here are my Top 2022 Flexible Work Resolutions for Leaders:
1. Remember Flexibility is Not New, Just Scaled. 2022 will likely be the year we move beyond crisis-driven flexibility to optimize where, when and how organizations operate going forward. The good news is there’s a roadmap to follow, because high performance flexibility is not new. Leaders and organizations, before and during the pandemic, have reimagined the way their organizations and people can operate. To simplify and accelerate your organization’s transformation process, look to their path for guidance. Don’t reinvent the wheel.
2. Flexibility Must Work for People and the Business. Flexibility is NOT a one-size-fits-all policy, program or initiative. High performance flexibility is a process-based way of operating. It involves the way people plan, coordinate and execute the delivery of goods and services, while managing their lives. That requires giving teams and individual employees the trust and freedom to answer the question “What do WE need to do, and where, when and how do WE do it best?” guided by flexible work guardrails they’ve set together.
3. It’s Not Just WHERE We Work, but HOW and WHEN. If high performance flexibility is a digitally-enabled way of operating across workplaces, spaces and time, then 2022 is the year we need to move beyond “hybrid” to describe the model we are trying to achieve. The pandemic taught us work is not organized around “where we go,” but “what we do.” Once the “what” is defined, then “where, when and how do we do that work best” naturally follows. While “place” is still an important enabler of work, “hybrid” is too place-based. A flexible operating model also encompasses HOW we use technology to communicate and collaborate, WHEN we work and the pace at which we perform. It’s not just where, but also when and how.
4. Give Managers, Teams AND People the Skills and Tools to Optimize Flexibility. Gaps emerged during the pandemic—people reported they “love the flexibility” but “struggle with boundaries around their work and life.” Employees say their productivity has been the “same or higher” while managers aren’t so sure. Not surprising because flexibility was executed, practically overnight, in response to a crisis. There was no time to plan or introduce the skills and tools leaders, teams and individuals needed to efficiently and effectively execute work, and manage life, in a flexible, dynamic way. Train managers, teams and individuals and let them actively experiment with the new skills and tools they need to succeed working flexibly.
5. Align Leadership Behind “What is High Performance Flexibility and Why It Matters” Then Cascade. To achieve the other four Flexible Work Resolutions in 2022, leadership at all levels must first be able to answer these three questions: What is high performance flexibility in our organization? What does it look like in action? Why does it matter? Then ensure the “what” and “why” they define doesn’t get stuck at the top. Cascade it throughout the organization so everyone is aligned–managers, teams and individuals—as they reimagine and optimize how, when and where they work in 2022.