Leadership Operations team

Flexibility at the Point of Pivot

Tracey Foulkes
Written by Tracey Foulkes

I’m a seriously responsible lady. This comes with a price and the occasional resistance to stepping outside the lines. While I’m aware of this, and use prioritisation as a means to keep me on track of what is realistic or not, I’ve started to notice a trend in my team that has me scrambling for answers.

I’m observing that 2 emotions creep in when things happen that cause us to pivot, shift gears, change routine, challenge the status quo or simply recalibrate:


These emotions, when not addressed, escalate to:


The alternative requires flexibility:


So I started pondering where our flexibility has played out for us as a team over the past week at points of pivot. Honestly, I’m surprised at how many examples came to mind. I’ll share some of them.

The deployment team are working crazy hours to accommodate our USA clients and I’m happy they are taking time off during their normal work day to compensate for this. Their flexibility, though not ideal I understand, has meant we can grow our relationship with our partners¬†while we work hard behind the scenes to build a more scalable solution and diverse team, across all geographies. We’ve asked this team to readjust¬†their¬†weekly blueprints to bring some ‘normal’ into their¬†work day. This helps with balance and keeps overwhelm at bay. Now to help them¬†feel empowered by the¬†flexible hours during this pivot instead of guilty for pushing against the norm. We create our own normal ūüôā we¬†spotted a problem – flagged the problem – brought solutions – adjusted

Our sales team¬†have been busy with a sprint. The objective: book appointments for Claire’s (our CEO) next San Fran trip. The trip kicks off on Friday, our time is super tight, despite planning, not everything always goes our way. So this week technology came and kicked this team up the bum. 1500 personalised mailers needed to go out and only (approx) 750 made it safely to our future clients’ mailboxes. While this team had poured their heart out into their fabulous plan, the magic lies with how they responded at the point of pivot. Sure they felt frustration, but instead of wallowing in remorse, they simply kicked into a plan B (and then C), adjusted, regrouped + moved forward. They spotted the problem – flagged the problem – brought solutions – adjusted

Claire¬†was due to speak at an event in Bulgaria in front of an audience of 2000 techies. The event was running over time, she suggested she present the following day instead which presented us as a flexible company despite it compromising her time … this rippled through to her PA¬†who had to shift appointments and re-juggle her¬†already crazy calendar. A beautiful example of spotted the problem – flagged the problem – brought solutions – adjusted

Marc (head of our Automation team) and I meet weekly. We do this on a Tuesday when I’m in the CT office. I feel I’m in too many meetings on a Tuesday which compromises my ability to focus. Marc suggested we walk. This was likely our most productive meeting to date. We worked off our agenda, kept within our 30 minute time allocation and returned to the office recharged and energised. Marc, cheers to you because you spotted the problem – flagged the problem – brought solutions – adjusted.

Jenna our in-house writer loves to travel and craved some added flexibility. She wondered how she could fit travel into her work day without compromising her deliverables. She  found a solution which has pretty much most of us inspired. Jenna spent the week in Portugal, spoke at a conference, visited the Dublin office en route home (South Africa) and shared what she learnt along the way with the team. She spotted the problem Рflagged the problem Рbrought solutions Рadjusted.

Our design team, finance team + HR have PIVOT stories of their own from this past week alone and those are just the ones I am aware of. This is totally normal for a tech startup business like ours. While we ride the roller coaster, we need to address the multiple opportunities on a daily basis and be flexible constantly.

How we adjust in this time of pivot, is imperative to our success.

Time and energy is wasted on the guilt + frustration + panic + fear. These are all not productive. Instead we need to explore the alternatives.

spot the problem – flag the problem – bring solutions adjust

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