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Flexible Deployment

Flexible deployment (Chap. 4) is the capacity to apply a specific set of skills in a variety of ways. This value is the basis for several performance management strategies. Approaches such as job rotation, job enlargement, job enrichment, and multi-skilling are flexible work practices. It can also mean physically moving from one location to another, such as a transfer or secondment. The performance management tool I suggest to strengthen flexible deployment capability is based on multi-skilling, using a skills matrix.

Having an internally mobile workforce is essential for organizational maneuverability. Being able to deploy a set of skills in an assortment of ways boosts the employee and enterprise’s capacity to adapt. Further, the deployment of people’s skills in a variety of contexts makes a business less vulnerable to sudden fluctuations in the economy. Having the ability to use their skills in a range of ways, benefits the employee by maintaining their currency and employability. So this flexible work practice benefits both employer and employee.

What’s more, flexible deployment has a positive effect on all seven dimensions of agility. But of them all, flexible deployment is crucial for a business’s maneuverability and adaptability—the ability to change direction. Having the capacity to move employees around the business easily and from one set of tasks to another with minimum disruption, is an adaptive advantage. Specialized employment—the opposite value—makes changing direction a very difficult feat.

Another bonus of role rotation is that the rotated employee views their new tasks through a fresh set of eyes. Without fixed ideas that accompany the customary working arrangements of specialization, a flexibly deployed employee has a fresher perspective; they’re more prone to query and critique existing practices. Specialization, and the narrow focus it engenders, inculcates a rigid set of beliefs about how things can and should be done. Specialists, through habit and familiarity, naturally uphold and defend established processes and procedures.

Conversely, a flexibly deployed employee is inclined to ask questions such as: Why do we do things in this way? So dimensions of agility such as innovation, processing, and recovery speed can benefit from a new and constructively critical perspective. The dimensions of problem-solving and continuous improvement also profit from a fresh outlook and new ideas.

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