Flexibility is key to success

While on vacation this summer I listened to my wife and started each day with more stretching. On the floor each morning I reminded my muscles that they have been spending too muchtime in an office chair. Stretching hamstrings and hip flexors before I windsurfed and kayaked and swam and jumped off the rocks with my kids made me feel younger and stronger. It also brought tightness I hadn’t had in my legs since high school sports. But I am slowly feeling stronger and more agile. And the hurt is the good kind.

Flexibility is the key to success in business today. The Internet gave consumers flexibility of when and where they find information. IT infrastructure gives companies, of all sizes, the flexibility to transact business from any location. Software services have given us the flexibility to scale that technology backend without the cost exorbidence of previous business models. Companies can no longer just “throw bodies” at projects. Large companies have realized that the game has changed and flexibility is key to their success.

Fortune magazine dug into the problems in a recent article entitled “Tearing up the Jack Welch Playbook.” By making fixed costs more variable (ie outsourcing, partnering, and focusing on core strengths), corporate success stories now come from agile companies with streamlined business models that do not require scale but with technology that can (Fortune article)

Software tools that allow instant publishing of opinions, news and information are totally changing the political landscape. Politicians are abusing the flexibility of this new medium by editing their opponents pages as well as enhancing their own (Charlotte Observer article) as covered in this recent article. Flexibility is not a license to cheat however and those indiscretions had to be monitored and made less flexible (try editing President Bush’s wiki entry for instance).

Apply flexibility to your business life. Get down on the floor and stretch. Get your employees and co-workers and clients to do it with you. Try to gain back some of the mobility you had when you were younger. Use it as you go about business today. It may bring a little tightness tomorrow, but you will start to see the results almost immediately in other aspects of strength and agility.

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