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Flexible/Agile in Working: Leaders understand that processes, tasks and outcomes will not necessarily be the same next week as they were, and they remain agile in approaching situations and answers to questions and issues that arise in their work with congregations; they know that they have to be continually learning and asking “is this the best way to get what we want to achieve at this time?”

How can leaders of the 21st Century cultivate ways to be flexible and agile?

If this were a TED talk, there would be an amazing three minute video of a montage of leaders throughout the world demonstrating ways to be flexible and agile. So, with the use of our imagination, let us think of a group of wise UU leaders, experienced, committed, and earnestly endeavoring to face some big challenges. We don’t have to use too much imagination in recalling that during the significant economic challenges of the last 10 years, there were countless meetings happening across the nation of UU leaders finding ways to sustain their communities. Our MidAmerica Region was not exempt from these economic challenges, and in meeting after meeting we kept on repeating that we must find answers which were, scalable, sustainable, agile, and repeatable!

Agile and flexible leaders work to find answers that do not just serve an immediate problem, but instead help to create adaptive answers which serve a greater purpose and can be sustained and repeated for the greater good. There was a decidedly Midwestern tone in many of these conversations of an earnest and heartfelt commitment to find new ways of being and doing. It meant that we were compelled to rethink many of our assumptions, including our need for bricks and mortar district/regional offices. By going virtual, we kept our goal afloat of serving the 190 plus UU congregations in MidAmerica Region in ways that inspire and grow Unitarian Universalism.

Agile and flexible leaders take time to explore the differences in technical and adaptive answers. Often an indicator of our agility in responding to issues is whether we automatically look for a technical response to an adaptive issue. For more information on ways to be a flexible/agile leader who can determine when an adaptive or technical response is called for, check out page 25-27 of the UUA's Vision - Mission - Covenant document.

About the Author

Nancy Combs-Morgan

Nancy Combs-Morgan has been immersed in Unitarian Universalist faith development for 26+ years, including 6 as a Director of Religious Education, and 20 years on UUA district and regional staff.

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