Fight, Freeze or Flight: How are you responding to next-stage change?

I, once again, joined top-ranked leadership coach, John Baldoni, on his Grace Under Pressure LinkedIn Live program last week. What started as a discussion about the Great Resignation ended up focusing on what I’m calling the Great Reimagining as it relates to how, when and where we work. Our conversation touched on a couple of key points including:

The fight, freeze, or flight response to next-stage change
Flexibility in some ways was easier when the pandemic first hit. We had no choice but to just do it – to find different ways to operate. Now, organizations face three choices as they consider their operating/work models going forward. They can fight on merging the best of what worked before the pandemic with what worked best during the pandemic, and experiment with a new way of flexibly working that continues to evolve. They can freeze and do nothing, letting it “work itself out,” because they don’t know where or how to start. Or they can flight – they can try and go back to the way they did things before. And that’s just not going to work.

Why flexibility is just as important as compensation
Many employers are using the promise of flexibility, including remote work, to attract talent because they know the value proposition for people has changed. Flexibility is just as important as compensation. Employees want it, and they will leave their current jobs to find it. If your organization has not engaged your workforce in some sort of conversation, or even better yet the process of reimagining work, you run the risk of losing people. They will seek flexibility elsewhere.

Why a remote work-only approach to flexibility leaves out a whole segment of employees
We need to move towards thinking about high performance flexibility and not just about remote work. Remote work is just one of several ways to operate flexibly. If the sole focus is remote work, we’re leaving a whole segment of employees – those who can’t work remotely – out of the conversation. But these employees could still improve their work+life fit with other forms of flexibility including scheduling. The WORK drives the conversation not the PLACE/WHERE.

Process, not policy, drives consistency
Yes, the teams in your organization need to determine what they need to get done and how, when, and where they do it best. But managers, teams and employees need to be trained in a consistent process-based approach that helps them figure out how flexibility is ultimately executed in terms of place, space, time, pay and pace based on the varying need.  The consistency is in the process.

Flexibility and Snowflakes
The fit between work and life that flexibility enables is like snowflakes. I’ve never seen the same work+life fit reality twice. How we manage the way our work and life fit together is based on what matters most to each of us. For many, it’s just small shifts or tweaks.

For more on these points and what I mean about the Great Reimagining, watch the program or listen at:
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/grace-under-pressure-john-baldoni/id1527578494
https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/21363135-869b-4eeb-b912-c91e5ca3b2cf/grace-under-pressure-john-baldoni
https://open.spotify.com/show/7eAA60sy9fzCJ12Mum3ksb