Have you ever watched a surfer twist and turn and respond to a wave? Surfers are famous for pivoting, or carving, on the crest of a wave. Surfers have a whole set of lingo for describing nimbleness and the ability to pivot.
Lately, I’ve heard several people asking two questions…How can we be more nimble? How do we pivot more quickly? Organizational jargon can be distracting and overused at times, and has even been summarized in an entertaining slide deck by Forbes .Yet, in these times one has to wonder about the value and importance of being able to “Pivot” and be “Nimble”. Perhaps, surfers can be our instructors.
In addition, Jenny Blake has recently written a book titled, Pivot: The Only Move that Matters is Your Next One. She writes: “When you pivot, you double down on your existing strengths and interests to move in a new, related direction, instead of looking so far outside of yourself for answers that you skip over your hard-won expertise and experience. It empowers you to navigate changes with flexibility and strength—now and throughout your entire career.” Blakes’ motto is “if change is the only constant, let’s get better at it” . While Pivot is very much a guide for life transitions, her premise is solid and her invitation to get better at managing change is compelling for both individuals and teams.
In addition, Adam Bryant, author of Quick and Nimble , interviewed top CEOs on how they created a culture of nimbleness. He emphasizes the importance of having clear, measurable goals and then getting everyone to work towards those goals. If we accept that change is a constant then getting better at it by identifying clear measurable goals appears to be the basic road map towards being more nimble.
What are the benefits of being nimble? One of the foundational arguments is nimbleness allows a company to be more competitive. Ascent Advising defines it as the “ability and willingness to make smart and timely decisions about core organizational strategies, resources and actions based on real-world dynamics.”
How does an individual pivot to become more Nimble? If we take the lessons of Jenny Blake, we will leverage our strengths, experience and expertise and pivot towards our goals. I invite you to consider: Where can you “double down” in the coming month on an opportunity? What is the specific goal you want to achieve? How will you know when you have achieved success? What are the strengths you will leverage?
Lastly, if you have ever watched surfers you know they crash and can take a “gnarly wipeout”. And still, they get right back on their board and try it again. Enjoy the gnarly wipeouts and get back up and carve, pivot and be nimble!