Welcome! fisc is an abreviation of 'flexibility is cool'. The site is a collection of blogs to promote the use of flexibility in our personal and professional lives, to help manage uncertainty and achieve growth.
Redemption involves two important things – feeling a need to redeem yourself (combining awareness, self reflection and urgency). And transforming from negative to positive (becoming something better).
Redemption is about thinking & doing not thinking & being. You can be your own judge of how much redemption is enough. You can look to others to judge. Or take a balanced approach.
Feeling a need to redeem yourself has at least one positive indicator. It typically follows some kind of situation that tested you – one that allowed you to gain experience and grow from it and further develop your character.
How is redemption related to personal flexibility? Redemption is about why, where and when. Personal flexibility is about how. If you can develop personal flexibility, you can increase your chances of redeeming yourself at a later date, when that need arises. That said, be flexible on how you do good. Don’t be flexible in blurring good and bad together. Don’t be flexible in how many ways you can be bad either.
Finally, is there such a thing as too much redemption? This might be relevant to some people working in the not for profit sector, working as volunteers, or being a parent. Where feeling the need to redeem yourself is driven by guilt, but then you discover that the more you redeem, the harder it seems to shed the guilt you feel, you have to then impose limits and boundaries. Or risk losing your sanity. This blogger’s counsel is to take advice from those you trust & respect. And listen to the voice of reason within yourself too.
Trainers walk the walk. But only where they’re a good fit for the journey ahead.
I saw a chart on Pinterest today that was created by an experienced trainer. It linked together emotional intelligence(EI), coaching and leadership in a three way of mutual benefit. With being an effective trainer at the centre.
To digress, I guess I think of EI as a personal flexibility powerhouse. The more EI a person can develop, with maturity, feedback, reflection and perseverance, the more their personal flexibility to cope will flourish.
Back to the training model. Perhaps EI is like a brain, interacting with the ‘limbs’ of coaching and leadership. Or EI is like life-carrying water. With coaching and leadership as its channels. And training improvement the result?
Anyway, it got me thinking about parenting and how being a parent is different from being a trainer. Both take a load of patience and perseverance, no question. But parenting isn’t always about taking action to coach or lead your child. Sometimes it’s about just sitting back, enjoying the sunshine and simply loving them. Listening and sharing in their successes, their concerns. And sometimes their secrets.
Children probably won’t feel grounded in their own identity, unless and until the people they know love them, listen.
But wait. Don’t the best coaches & leaders act like parents in boosting the confidence of their trainees (believing in them) and loving them too (in a professional kind of way)?
Having Flexibility on the outside and the (business) brand at the core makes sense for organisations wanting their clients to experience their own unique version of the brand. Caterers, publishers, movie makers & evangelical religious leaders take this approach. Their clients might say, ‘I don’t know what I want, but I’ll pay good money (and invest my soul) when I see it.’ The brand values are a molten core, radiating outwards into the client experience. Consistency where it exists, isn’t across the client base. But across the repeat experience of a given client.
Then there are organisations who put Flexibility at the heart and wear their brand on the outside. You can’t think of their brand without valuing the innate flexibility within it. The likes of Google, Wikipedia, hospital groups, research-led universities and legal systems take this approach. Their customers might say, ‘what insights can my interaction with this brand reveal?’ There is consistency of experience across the user base. But if the product evolves, a given customer’s experience may vary over time.
So what does this tell us? Creating a sustainable brand is necessary. Figuring out whether to put Business Flexibility at its centre, or on its surface, is what makes your brand sufficient.
At the time of writing (late Aug 2019) there are at least two pressing Brexit problems that will need a technology solution to ride in and save the day. The first is a practical technology solution to avoid the need for an ‘Irish backstop’. If achieved and quickly demonstrable, the UK won’t have to exit the EU on 31 October 2019, on a default, ‘no deal’ basis.
A second, related issue is about UK rubbish recycling, pre and post Brexit. At present, quoting the 6pm BBC news on 22nd Aug, loads of UK rubbish is exported to the EU (Sweden & Holland) for conversion into energy, under existing EU agreements.
Meanwhile app developers and inventors every day come up with (trivial) tech solutions, seeking a business or social problem to solve.
Wouldn’t it be grand if a tech company or two quickly presented a compelling solution to the backstop problem, saving Britain and its EU colleagues from a ‘no deal’ aftermath.
And if a science solution quickly emerged to provide UK onshore waste recycling on masse, (so no need to send to landfill, perhaps with intermediate stockpiling) as well?
Are binary choices becoming an endangered species? Flexibility on binary seems to go in one of two directions:
(1) There is the conversion from binary to a spectrum instead.
Oscillation along the spectrum between two limits is useful for bird flight, in juggling and in art. Or to make songs more interesting.
Computers to date have been binary, but quantum computing uses more of a spectrum approach.
Expert amateurs and novice professionals existing between the states of expert professional and rank amateur.
Logic used to be binary. Then we recognised fuzzy logic as useful too.
Governments generally moved away from binary sentencing in the justice system (death penalty or not, innocent or guilty) to concepts of restitution, share of blame, clemency and degree of penalty.
Human genders used to be recognised as male or female. Now we recognise a trans gender spectrum.
Political parties used to cluster around left wing or right wing. Now simultaneous local, national and trans-national identities feature just as prominently for voters.
(2) There is two merging into one united view, perhaps to realise synergies.
Humans used to combine our skills with nature’s raw materials (binary). It was obvious what was created by nature and what was created by people. Then we invented technology and eventually added synthetic biology to natural biology. We also augmented our own design approaches with computer-aided design & build. Then came computer-generated design & build, with its merging of physical and digital reality into augmented and virtual reality. And its blending of natural and synthetic biology.
People’s identity started when they were conceived. And their actions ceased when they died. Now people can pre-programme digital events (including posts) to happen after they think they will die. It then becomes possible to give the digital appearance of human life, after actual physical death.
I’m waiting in the Heathrow arrivals area, people watching over a coffee when I write this.
Airports, they epitomise binary- departures and arrivals, flying or waiting, the tide of travellers flooding corridors, or empty passageways & waiting areas. Business flexibility or personal flexibility. Jaded solo business class travellers, or excited family members about to go on holiday together.
Airports also represent a vibrant economy sustained by adventure and business meetings. Service providers have time to kill. A process schedule to meet and travellers to delight. Travellers have a fear of the unknown to kill. A flight schedule to meet. And duty free shopping to delight.
In an age of high definition travel films, virtual conference calls, digital gaming adventure and loads of digital ways to contact our nearest & dearest, we still need to fly somewhere to experience things in person. And it’s not from the novelty of flying in a plane for the first time.
With airports, the (hydro) carbon footprint from all those flights is huge. Yet the silicon footprint alternative just doesn’t cut it. Flying may take longer. But it seems that our love affair with what it enables, seems as popular as ever.
Wikipedia defines ‘imposter syndrome’ as ‘a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.’
For those who work in areas where there is a relatively smooth, easy journey to celebrity status – models, TV presenters, interviewers, lead singers (who don’t do the song writing) and natural disaster survivors, it’s not hard to see why they might have such feelings.
Apparently many people of both genders have feelings of imposter syndrome from time to time. But because it makes people feel more anxious and vulnerable, it’s not something we’re likely to share freely. The trick is to see imposter syndrome as a choice we make. Not a mantle given to us.
Just as some people amplify their achievements to gain advantage, others take an opposite approach (under promise and over deliver). Merit takes time to form. And reputations are built on a string of milestones (but lost after a single adverse event).
Every day, people encounter novel situations, testing their leadership skills, imagination and adaptability. Therefore, if we can’t shake the monkey sitting on one shoulder whispering ‘you’re an imposter at this’, it’s up to us to encourage another monkey to sit on our other shoulder. One that says, ‘so what if you’re new to this. Flexibility rules. Do your best and see where that takes you!’
So much focus on machines taking people’s jobs. So little focus on the proportion of total work tasks done by machine versus human. And how that’s changing over time.
So much focus on machines taking over human jobs. So little focus on human biases & negative emotions in the workplace, holding back human productivity and job creation.
If it can be easily traded and easily validated, it can be easily automated.
Differentiate on human flexibility in niches that machines cannot be flexible in. It starts with better understanding human flexibility – something big and hiding in plain sight.
Increasing efficiency by machines leads to commoditisation. Increasing ingenuity by humans leads to monopoly pricing. Therefore whether human or machine, play to your strengths.
First there were village artisans and locally sustainable producers that their communities valued. Then came synthetic commodities and mass consumerism, produced by an industrialised and increasingly automated market economy, fuelled by consumer debt. It’s a test of human flexibility how much to bend the arc of future progress, in favour of globally sustainable, artisan goods and services.
Friends are there so you can laugh and cry over the same things. They help you glam up the mundane. Friends gloss over, or agree with your biases.
A soulmate charms you, completes your sentences and pushes your patience. Perhaps in equal measure. A soulmate helps you face the mundane head on.
Soulmates make you a little bit crazy. Friends are a little bit crazy. That’s why you like them.
Family sit in the pockmarked no man’s land, between your soulmate and your friends. They might put up some barbed wire. Or simply sunbathe and call out to you from time to time, when the shelling gets intense.
Whether you hang out in the bunker with your friends, man the front line with your soulmate, or search out your family in no man’s land, depends on your agility, your resilience and the orders you give yourself.
Strong squash players dominate the central zone of the court. This helps them in several ways. It helps them handle uncertainty i.e. where the next shot from their opponent will come from. And it helps them with ‘growth’ i.e. shortening the average time to hit the ball and maximising the time they have to set up their own future shots.
So what is the relevance of squash strategy to personal flexibility?
Firstly, imagine a two-dimensional matrix with columns for personal planning (strong or weak). And rows for direction (clear or unclear). There are 4 quadrants in the matrix.
Those whose natural inclination is strong planning and clear direction forward are thought of as strategic and focussed. And unkindly, as ‘control freaks’. For the control freaks, if operating in a turbulent or increasingly uncertain environment, their supporters (employers, sports coaches, parents, teachers or tutors) can help them become more comfortable with uncertainty and more agile under turbulent conditions – become dynamic planners and become tolerant of multiple versions of the truth, perhaps caused by some versions being out of date faster than others. Football goalies are perhaps a sports example of control freaks.
Those whose natural inclination is strong planning but weak direction forward are the long suffering, ‘steady eddies’. For the steady eddies, their supporters can reassure them on direction and encourage them to rely on more dynamic planning approaches – less detailed and less complex plans, more empowerment and more self-belief. Civil servants serving politicians (especially under UK Brexit) are perhaps a workplace example of steady eddies.
Those whose natural inclination is weak planning and unclear direction, are the go with the flow, ‘fatalists’. People who are fatalistic in their home life probably need supporter encouragement to build some hopes and aspirations. Anything that gets them to experience the taste of success is a good start. Supporters can help them to become better planners, project members or team players. Spectators at a sports game are perhaps an example of fatalists in the sense not of supporting their team, but of being an onlooker.
Finally, those whose natural inclination is weak planning but clear direction forward are ‘opportunists’, making their own luck. For the opportunists, their supporters need to encourage them to create more control for more benefit. With control coming from teamwork, planning and quicker influence. Football strikers are perhaps a sports example of opportunists.
Now imagine a world of constant and accelerating change – not change in everything. But change as a rhythm or backbeat to everyday life. In such conditions, a medium level of both planning and direction is desirable, like the central zone for playing squash. But requires personal flexibility from those in all four quadrants to achieve i.e. travel a similar distance towards the centre zone, but from a unique direction, with a unique rationalisation.
Families, voters, groups of volunteers and groups of friends rarely encounter the structure and rules that simple games prescribe. Therefore, all could benefit from seeking out the ‘central zone’ of the matrix to achieve good progress. It’s not just about tolerance. But appreciation of the merits of opposing outlooks too. Work is needed to seek out commonality and win-wins. But not achieve the extreme of groupthink. All that remains is to forge some cultural pathways towards the central zone for each social group concerned…