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Show notes: Episode 13, Flexibility

EQ and You show notes cover image with David and Kim: "Flexibility"

This is episode 13, where Kim and David have a chat about Flexibility. Flexibility is the first competency in the Stress Management composite.

Here are some notes and links from the show. Please join us in two weeks on Friday, January 15th at 9:30AM Pacific, for our next broadcast on Stress Tolerance. Need a reminder? You can subscribe to our EQ and You reminders.


Flexibility is adapting emotions, thoughts and behaviours to unfamiliar, unpredictable, and dynamic circumstances or ideas.

The business case for workplace flexibility

Flexibility in the workplace

creativity (wikipedia)

“The art of creativity,” Daniel Goleman and Paul Kaufman


Partial Show notes

0:00 Introduction, by David
0:50 David: Flexibility is interesting, and we were thinking about this at our New Year’s party last night. The host’s stove broke and so he made the cheese fondue on the barbecue instead and it was an impressive display of flexibility…
1:30 Kim: That is a great example. Barbecue fondue is a means to an end. Flexibility is the ability to adjust thoughts, feelings, behaviours in light of new conditions. There is a notion of fluidity at play. When the stove is broken down, the fondue requires a new heat source… Road rage comes to my mind too. All the steps that lead up to road rage don’t always take into account traffic patterns. So it’s an opportunity for folks to see the conditions and adjust course. You either lock in or adjust. It takes practice...
3:45 David: Yeah, the key word is practice. Because also sometimes what is required is balance between abandoning our plans and knowing when to say we should stick to a plan. Sometimes a  hard-nosed willingness to push a plan through is called for… the ability to do this, to be inflexible, and to push agendas through, can have human impacts. …Corporate restructuring, for example, can have a human costs… So the practice is partly in learning when to be flexible and when to be rigid.
6:00 Kim: There is an interweaving of EI competencies here, because flexibility requires strong reality testing, for example. And understanding impact of changing or holding course can require empathy
7:45 David: What are our values? How emotionally self-aware are we? The whole area of decision making is affected by flexibility… flexibility and impulse control also have an interesting relationship. Having a high ability to adapt and a low impulse control can be dangerous.
9:45 Kim: There can be a perception that flexibility is about waffling, but it’s really not. Being open to receiving new information, and adjusting course, is not waffling…
11:00 David: Flexibility is about being open to adapt. Flexibility is not “whatever.” Flexibility is not relinquishing a responsibility to provide input or to be present. We need to continue to be responsible for our feelings and our roles in mutually contributory relationships… it requires the energy and talent of accessing our own emotional landscape. Being negligent is not flexibility.
13:20 Kim: What are the cues here?
14:00 David: Good question. For me, I pay attention to all requests for an opinion. I try to take these requests very seriously… Most importantly, leaders can’t duck that question.
15:20 Kim: Contributing and inviting opinions and insights is important…
16:00 David: What is flexibility to people who are goal-oriented? What is flexibility to people who are committed to having a tidy house, for example? It all points to a highly personal nature of “the right level” of flexibility for someone. You know, it’s 2016 and we’re all thinking about what we want to achieve… Did you make any resolutions, by the way?
18:20 Kim: I’m not a big New Year’s resolution person. I’m more of an ongoing-process-of-goals and adjustment person… but flexibility is up there for me in terms of practice… In a world where young people are facing so many career changes and so much specialization, flexibility will be paramount. And for folks approaching retirement, the same holds. People are reconsidering retirement, and evaluating what their values are…

21:00 David: Flexibility is in the composite scale of stress management, and it’s key to be willing to let something go. It’s key to acceptance. It’s key to, like a palm tree, not being rigid and therefore fragile. Palm trees bend rather then breaking against the wind. Being flexible allows us to avoid resisting things beyond our control. We learn to pick our battles this way. Flexibility is a tool to help us avoid stress. What can I let go of? Like scheduling this broadcast for example [laughs]…
21:45 Kim: [Laughs] And this highlights how creativity plays a role. Roadblocks create opportunities for solutions and flexibility and creativity is a nice driver. Given these realities, how can we create options…
25:10 David: Yes, and in one leadership model, we move from reactivity to creativity. This happens through flexibility. This is what we think about here at EITC, how to help people learn to move into leadership…
27:10 Kim: One take away here is to seize on choice points as opportunities to practice the emotional intelligence competencies… take advantage of the little opportunities. This has to be a daily practice, observing and correcting course. It’s not a grand change, at once. It’s a little bit at a time, over a long distance…
28:20 David: Yes, and another approach is to ask yourself where flexibility is showing up in a healthy way for you. When is it serving you? What’s not working? When do you need to be more assertive?… take care everyone. Happy New Year!!

One response to “Show notes: Episode 13, Flexibility”

  1. […] And Joyce’s capacity to spend all season cheering for the Flames and is now switching gears, demonstrates flexibility. […]

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