In a former position, I was appointed to an internal staff team working on a strategic plan for a subsidiary of our organization. The team took the opportunity to spend time boldly brainstorming and thinking beyond what had been said and done. We invoked the idea that change was upon us whether we welcomed it or not. We knew we had to move forward with a new way of thinking and an ability to transition quickly as new data, situations or challenges arose. Sound familiar?
Over the course of our brainstorming (and perhaps a few martinis), one member of our team said we needed to be nimble. We all oohed and ahhed over that word. Yes, we thought, we must be nimble. Yet, we felt that word wasn’t enough. Yes, we had to be able to flex—i.e., be nimble—but also change and adapt with great speed—velocity. We connected “nimble” plus “velocity” to coin a key strategic element of our plan: nimbilocity.
Nimbilocity comes to the forefront of my thoughts at this extraordinary moment, as I spend an unexpected amount of time on video calls, deep dive into leading a fully remote team, and take more phone calls than I have in the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged our team to embrace this philosophy of adapting and flexing swiftly. And we have. We have adjusted our work style and thought processes at lightning speed (velocity) to get each team member up and running remotely. We have deftly adapted our content to identify key topics that members need now, and we have delivered.
If you look at nimbilocity in other sectors, you see auto manufacturers transitioning to produce medical equipment. Distilleries are switching gears to make hand sanitizer. IATSE's Theatre Wardrobe Locals, the Hollywood Costumers Local and Costume Designers Guild has transitioned to making protective masks. Hotels are offering rooms for our first responders to get rest and respite. These are all examples of nimbilocity.
Surely, you’ve experienced this as well within your own company. Think about how you are working today versus only a month ago. How has your company transformed in a short period of time? It is amazing the way we can innovate and execute when challenged by an unexpected and overwhelming situation that is out of our hands. I suspect you may have even surprised yourself at how agile you have become in this surreal moment filled with professional and personal challenges.
Never doubt your ability to be nimble and adapt to the velocity of change when you must. It gives us a new light to shine on our very best selves under difficult and unexpected circumstances. Nimbilocity is your new best friend. Embrace it. It will serve you well.
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Wendy Mann is the chief executive officer of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network and president of the CREW Network Foundation.