Vaya Insights
Insight: The safest approach isn’t always the best approach

Pursuing Familiarity: The Most Secure Method May Not Be the Optimal Strategy

Many professionals like to “play it safe” at work by using tried and true tactics to drive their campaigns. While many company leaders appreciate this approach which usually results in a program that can be implemented within the confines of a company’s budget and team members’ capabilities, it can also place a glass ceiling on an organization’s (and individual’s) opportunities for success.

In part four of our series examining behavior combinations, we will examine individuals that are great tactical planners but lack flexibility. These professionals have strengths around structure and planning, but may not take advantage of opportunities to break away from established methods and try new ideas.

Behavior Combination: Tactical Planning and Lack of Flexibility

This person tends to be very focused on getting things done right by planning it out and using proven methods. This individual is likely to struggle when things “get off plan.” He/she may shoot down ideas from others if the ideas don’t seem realistic or if they deviate far from the person’s pre-established norm. Others may see this person as inflexible, overly rigid and closed to new ideas. He/she can stifle creativity or different ways of thinking.

According to a Harvard Business Review blog by Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, encouraging creativity is critical to an organization’s success: “Unless you learn to get the best out of your creative employees, you will sooner or later end up filing for bankruptcy.” “Suppressed creativity is a malign organizational tumor.”1 It is important to help individuals with the behavior combination of tactical planner and lack of flexibility to think outside of their comfort zone and encourage others to do so as well.

As a manager, assign projects that require a different way of thinking to be successful. Ask the individual to make a conscious effort to maintain a positive attitude when priorities shift or the unexpected occurs. Have this person seek feedback from others that operate differently within the organization. The person should look for alternative perspectives on handling different situations and incorporate that feedback into their approach.

For an organization to be successful, it is important to implement many of the tactics that have worked for the business in the past. But it is equally important to think outside of the box and try new approaches. For some, doing so is easier said than done. By encouraging tactical planners who have demonstrated a lack of flexibility to step outside of their comfort zones, managers can help drive the business forward while fostering new skills and greater employee success.



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