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Preparing Government to Lead Change: Strategies to Demonstrate Flexibility

In Preparing Government to Lead Change: Creativity and Innovation Developmental Strategies, I illustrated the difference between change management and leading change using the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Leading Change definition. I then introduced developmental strategies to learn and demonstrate the leading change competency of creativity and innovation. In a subsequent post Preparing Government for Leading Change: External Awareness, I explored developmental strategies to learn and demonstrate external awareness.

Flexibility as a Leading Change Competency

The third leading change executive competency is flexibility. As defined by OPM, the executive competency of flexibility: Is open to change and new information; rapidly adapts to new information, changing conditions, or unexpected obstacles. The first part of the flexibility definition is being open to change and new information. How can this openness to change be demonstrated in an organization? Take a look at 5 ways to help your team be open to change.

The second part of the definition is rapidly adapting to that information. To adapt, create an environment where change is encouraged and anticipated. Use decision-making techniques and work processes that involve the ability to experiment and rapidly shift to accommodate change. And, doing this rapidly is essential because organizational goals must still be met during changing conditions.

How can you demonstrate flexibility during a worldwide health crisis? It is critical to map a variety of developmental strategies to the leading change executive competency of flexibility. Start by learning about flexibility. Then, use a variety of experiences to demonstrate flexibility for preparing government to lead change.

Educate to Lead Change by Learning About Flexibility

Over 20 years ago, I read “Who Moved My Cheese” by Dr. Spencer Johnson. This book illustrates the importance of being open and being able to rapidly adapt to change or flexibility. In addition, consider taking the Dale Carnegie Adjusting to Change course to learn how to take a creative and energetic approach to adapt to change.

Coaching and Mentoring to Demonstrate Flexibility

Engage in coaching and mentoring opportunities to demonstrate flexibility. Take a DiSC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness) assessment. Assessments uncover blind spots to help adapt communication and approaches to work behaviors. Also, use Kenneth Blanchard’s Situational Leadership® to help understand and select the right leadership style at the right time.

Experience Leading Change by Demonstrating Flexibility

Experience leading change using flexibility with career experiences. In the government, identify units that can benefit from the creation of a shared services model. Then, propose a working group to create this shared services model.

Be open to new information. Conduct an assessment of current and future technology and recordkeeping needs. Then, lead an effort to digitize paper records. In addition, contact local experts in risk mitigation and contingency planning. And, assist them in a project that involves anticipating and responding to unexpected obstacles.

But most importantly, realize that flexibility is more than an action. It starts with a mindset. To facilitate the flexibility mindset, create an environment open to change and ready to respond to new information. In turn, this will allow opportunities to demonstrate flexibility to prepare government to lead change.

You may also be interested in A Roadmap for Leadership Development and Proficiency Levels for Leadership Competencies.

Adelle J. Dantzler, M.S. Ed., has advanced from a GS-3 student worker to a GS-15 Human Resources Specialist in the federal government. She has used her master’s experience in instructional design to create innovative, customized virtual and instructor-led courses and curriculums at the high potential, team leader, GS-15, and senior executive levels at four federal agencies. As a Federal Job Search Trainer/Career Coach, she has successfully coached hundreds on the job search and facilitated career management, leadership, and team-building with her certifications as a MBTI® & FIRO-B® Practitioner, Crucial Conversations and InsideOut Coaching Presenter, and EQ-i2.0 and CCL 360 coach.

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