Time to Temporize

Corporate workplace professionals are busy figuring out what their new normal should be and how to get there. Some have done the work, have a clear roadmap, and are ready to make their move. Others still have work to do to decide what the new work environment should be, or don’t yet have a clear roadmap. For these, temporizing actions may be the most appropriate immediate strategy.

As we begin to reenter the building in bigger numbers, several considerations weigh on important decisions. When and how to affect a return to normalcy, strategic shifts in response to a changed work dynamic, and their associated capital investments top the list. The most critical consideration is this: Do not leap until you’ve looked to see what is below.

The risk

Moving too quickly, before an organization has worked through the big questions and prepared appropriate strategies and plans is a dangerous game. Do not make big bets before you are ready, before you’ve laid the groundwork for success. Being a bit later to the game with the right solution is a lot better than delivering a project that doesn’t fix the problem. Take the time you need to get it right.

Culture trumps almost everything else

The world is awash right now with answers to your problems. That’s fine, but you must have confidence in the answer you select from the myriad of workplace strategies, designs, technologies, and worker expectations that are percolating. Most important is how your strategy and execution plans align with organizational and workplace culture. Getting this alignment correct is the key to implementing solutions that returning workers will embrace, and which optimize operational efficiency.

A few things to think about

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to any of the issue’s workplace folks are faced with. Real estate portfolio and strategy, new workplace design solutions and utilization policies, how workplace changes will affect productivity, acculturation, engagement, staff development and mentoring programs, and the technology suite are all in play. That’s a lot to think about, decide, plan, and implement, especially in a compressed time frame.

When to temporize

If you can put a check mark against any of these statements, then you may want to consider temporizing actions.

  • There is too much ambiguity, you do not yet have leadership agreement on key elements of a solution.
  • You do not have solid data on which to base policy, process, and project decisions.
  • You are trying to adapt someone else’s answer to your own needs.
  • You do not have the resources you need.
How to temporize

If you are not yet ready to act with confidence, then getting to that position is job one. Here are a few thoughts on getting there.

  • Adopt temporizing plans and policies that allow you to function without making big investments until clarity and leadership consensus emerge.
  • Be thoughtful about what the right solution for your set of circumstances, resources, and constraints will look like.
  • Develop roadmaps complete with signposts and use them to navigate the process. Trust your work, don’t detour off the road.
  • Develop hedging plans in case a difficulty arises, to enable you to proceed while minimizing risk.
  • Build capability and capacity into the organization and do it early.
  • Do the work that will create the right solution for your people, customers, and future.
When you are ready

Conserve capital until you have agreement on the right solution, a plan that leadership supports, and workers embrace, then strike when the time is right. When is the time right? When you know you have the right answer, the support of leadership, and the resources to get it done. Then you can move with confidence.

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