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.
Fighting is acting to achieve change. Debate is about examining options to improve planning.
Should we put more planning into fighting and more fighting into planning? And if so, what might that look like in practice?
For a political party fighting an election, campaign resources including the number of enthusiastic canvassers prepared to knock on strangers’ doors is limited. Voter areas to target are critical too. Planning is everything.
For an advocacy charity fighting to achieve significant impact, but operating in a world of inertia and indifference, planning what data to use, who to serve the insights to and how to incentivise them to act is key.
For an SME start-up, they need to fight to establish their brand and delight customers with the brand experience. Market research, cashflow and communicating the values embodied in the brand all need to operate in tandem. That takes careful planning.
What about putting more fighting into planning? Effective planning includes a battle of ideas and approaches. The winner isn’t the successful planner, but the successful plan. That plan, if the right people are in the planning room, ought to be a hybrid synthesised from many high quality contributions and a few ‘what if we…’ comments.
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.
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.
Surfers know about staying on their board to ride out the lows and enjoy the highs. Breaking right or left when the opportunity arises. Surfing away from danger if they spot a shark in the water.
How can companies or staff use flexibility to stay sustainable through boom & bust cycles? For companies, buying up distressed assets and companies in an economic downturn isn’t the only game in town. With companies desperately shedding cost by laying off staff, the downturn is a golden opportunity to pick up experienced talent in plentiful supply. Likewise for staff, stay open to new opportunities from those companies wanting the good people.
In the downturn, if they can’t justify hiring operations staff, firms can hire more developers instead, to deliver for the next bull run. Or better still (in a flexibility sense), acquire staff who develop in the downturn and do operations/marketing in the boom. For staff, think about widening your skills from operations into development and marketing too.
In a downturn, business ethics are tested by fear, not greed. Whether boom, bust or in between, staff can work hard to join up their personal morals with the business ethics of the business, to keep the customer love alive and thriving.
Finally for staff, if you’re not involved in development innovation (team leaders and middle managers), try to catch the eye of senior management, by helping them develop real options for the company’s future. For the company, having both innovations and real options is the equivalent of riding the surfboard through the ups and downs both.
Set backs – Struggling to succeed is simply walking the journey.
SME entrepreneur – someone whose success comes from the thoughtful choices of customers and the choices of thoughtful customers. A person who dreams of crafting products. And of crafting of dream products.
Style flexibility – unisex toilets, one brain & many emotions. And creatures that change colour when in danger.
Substance flexibility – swiss army knife designs, one brain & many ways to rationalise. And people who can speak multiple languages.
Success – fuelling the flames of freshness with the art of being original in style, thought and deed. The place that comes after business founders mentor staff and coach suppliers.
Strategic planning time is probably as scarce in our personal lives as it is in our professional lives. In both, assuming more of the same may be necessary. But developing a strategy is also needed, since significant external change will likely disrupt the present day momentum. As with the surge in a waterflow, the more powerful the flow, the more eddies there are to examine for opportunity as well.
Developing a strategy to manage our careers involves being resourceful & flexibile in finding gaps in the market that we can fill and that the market will value. Some gaps in the market are about product or service improvement (depth or breadth). Others, in an age of uncertainty and constant change, are about providing insight.
Three types of people will pay good money for insight. Those who have the most to lose. Those on the way up who want to reach financial stability sooner. And those who desperately need a solution.
One of the most important services that AI will likely provide is to properly value insight. Without all the biases, egos and prejudices that humans hold dear. AI will show us all what flexibility really means.
‘A good director makes a playground and allows you to play.’ Martin Landau
‘People think that the director’s direct actors. No. Really, what the director’s doing is directing the audience’s eye through the film.’ Julianne Moore
‘Directing is very close to choreography; you deal with space, time, emotions, lighting, making beautiful images.’ Benjamin Millepied
‘I prefer directing to acting. There is huge freedom that comes from being behind the camera. It brings a lot of responsibilities as well but is intensely rewarding.’ Angelina Jolie
‘Directing is so interesting. You know, it just sort of encompasses everything that you see, that you know, that you’ve felt, that you have observed.’ Barbra Streisand
Can we learn more about personal flexibility (PFL) from film directors, to help us in our daily lives? Do film directors have more PFL than the rest of us? But learn to harness it in their design & control work, to make a successful movie?
Firstly, what do film directors actually do? Arguably, they use control (like paramedics) & design (like architects) to adapt an adaption according to their expression. In other words, they use the medium of film and a multitude of design choices, to take a story that’s (probably) been adapted into a screenplay. And bring that story to dramatic life (crafting & control).
So can someone be a good film director without great design & control? And more fundamentally, can someone achieve great design & control in their life, without inherent personal flexibility?
Since it’s difficult to prove a yes answer to both questions conclusively, let’s take a leap of faith, assume yes and skip straight to how PFL might drive design & control.
Like successful architects, great film makers exploit their personal flexibility to achieve the best design, given the production constraints (time, money, available talent etc). That process of creating good design necessarily involves imagining, improvising, trying and reviewing.
Regarding control, emergency workers such as paramedics, arrive at the scene of a traffic accident and rapidly assess the situation at hand, taking control of events. Film directors do likewise. The personal flexibility exhibited is about:
Expecting the unexpected.
Quickly finding ways to relate to a host of questions, complaints & cries for help.
The uncertainty for the paramedic or film maker, regarding the resources to hand. A bit of trial and error is needed. Eventually, there is resolution. Patients are conveyed to hospital. The film takes are completed. And the movie content passed to the editing team to work on.
So what can we take away from these examples & embrace, to make our lives more flexible?
Something magical can be created from nothing but time, raw talent & money. It just takes good design & control to craft a good solution. Therefore, give yourself more credit. To embrace your role as the director of your own life movie.
By taking control of a life (and death) situation, it doesn’t mean you close down all available options. Control includes continuing to hold options in your head & heart, about what you might next do. There is an interplay between options & control, at all points of the ‘journey’.
Spectators will watch your movie being made, or your heroic actions at the scene of the accident and silently judge your efforts. You will get credit for trying. Clearly, people can be bitchy and critical. But when we remind ourselves that we reap what we sow (what goes around comes around), we are capably of quickly adjusting our view to a sense of fairness.
If you find these blogs useful, feel free to share with others. Likewise, comments are welcome too.