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.
It probably works for personal flexibility too.
We quite happily accept a diverse range of food dishes and food presentation styles. Regarding music, we like live performances and listening on our headphones. We may enjoy a range of music genres. We might sing in the shower but prefer others to sing on stage. What to wear each day? We like various colours, patterns, levels of warmth and levels of formality in our clothing wardrobe.
We like happy surprises. We people watch and take a variety of photos, including selfies. We travel as tourists to see exotic sights and experience something of different cultures.
We read a variety of books, blogs, articles and adverts. We may download various TED talks and YouTube videos, both to be inspired, to be entertained and to learn something.
We appreciate the changing seasons. And watching children or pets slowly grow into fully-fledged adults. We like more than one sport and different kinds of entertainment.
We find a bit of variety at work brightens the work day and makes it seem a bit shorter. We like gardens with diversity in them. We like politicians who aren’t just clones of each other.
In short, we enjoy diversity and variety. So why is it when it comes to our fellow humans, we are so intolerant and so inflexible? Some of us consciously or subconsciously discriminate on gender, age, personality, confidence level, values, maturity level, ethnicity or disability.
The thing about variety is it can involve risk. But in areas ranging from biological evolution and design, to portfolio finance, variety can also diversify risk, add vitality and minimise threat of a poor outcome. For that alone, we should appreciate the value of diversity in human communities.
And since we seem to appreciate diversity in so many other things, why not add an appreciation of human diversity too (this appreciation is yet another form of personal flexibility and flexibility thinking). It will be in good company, after all.