Being flexible about how things are done is not easy for some entrepreneurs. In this article, Vinod Ramchandra Jadhav illuminates the importance of staying pliable and offers tips to help risk-averse entrepreneurs.
Why is flexibility important for businesses?
From the many ways individual businesses can benefit from being more flexible in their processes, policies, and programs, three reasons to adapt rise to the surface as essential for all companies. These are adjusting to challenges, taking advantage of opportunities, and fostering innovation.
Adjust to challenges:
If there is one thing you can count on as a businessperson, it’s difficulties. Supply chain issues, labor relations, economic instability, and competition provide entrepreneurs with a neverending parade of problems to solve.
Overcoming difficulties means adapting, changing how things are done, and compensating for deficiencies. Conversely, a surefire recipe for failure is rigid adherence to policies or practices that prevent you from meeting your business goals and objectives.
Take advantage of opportunities:
In addition to keeping you from achieving your goals, being too rigid will limit your capacity to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. Radical changes require planning and caution, but leveraging opportunities that provide incremental cost reduction or increased production must be taken advantage of as they become available.
A well-known adage says that “necessity is the mother of invention.” While that is undoubtedly true, flexibility is the fertile soil that allows innovation to grow. Without a flexible environment that fosters and supports innovation, you and your key employees will fail to recognize opportunities to adapt, improve, and invent.
Why business leaders find it hard to be flexible.
Being flexible means making, or at least considering, change, and change can be frightening. There is safety in continuing to do what you’ve done in the past. At least the results are predictable, even if not exceptional.
A businessperson’s version of the athlete’s mantra, “no pain, no gain,” is “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Risk is a part of starting a business, and it is a part of improving one. Just as it was imperative for you to embrace risk to start your company, you must be flexible to ensure its success.
Tips for being flexible in business
First and foremost, to be more flexible in running your business, you must understand why it is essential. Without a firm grasp of the benefits that flexibility will bring, you are unlikely to overcome the inertia of the status quo.
If your business meets all its goals, the need for change may be small. If, however, you want more from your company, you will need to be flexible to make the necessary changes. There is no shortage of business books dedicated to the necessity of business flexibility. Do your due diligence and research how being open to new ideas can help your business grow.
For risk-averse leaders, it can be helpful to set clear boundaries. Define the areas in which you are willing to be flexible and how you are not. These boundaries will provide the sense of safety you need to experiment in areas where you are ready to assume more risk.
Lastly, many entrepreneurs easily visualize the need for flexibility as they internalize a position that can be expressed as “people over processes.” Processes should always concede to the benefit of people. Change is crucial if rigid processes prevent you and your people from enjoying their work experience. Being flexible to benefit your employees will pay real dividends in the long run.