Flexibility cost

Sticking to the plan is usually the least expensive solution. However! 

Plans are just guesses. Sometimes we guess poorly. Or, circumstances change, and our guess proves to be wrong.

For example, you planned to quit our job, and entrepreneurship turns out to be nothing like what you guessed it would be like. Or you started a creative project, only to realize how much work completing it—at the scale you envisioned—would take.

In situations like this, a decision comes up:

Where can you be flexible?

For an organized person, who craves structure and predictability, being flexible is truly painful.

Adapting takes time, because you need to not only update your plan (guess), you also need to process the information you’re taking in and assess what you’ve learned.

All of this will delay the original deadline and probably change the scope of your work—which means you’ll need to shift around your other plans too.

Plus it requires decisiveness, which takes practice, and can expire if you don’t use it in time.

None of this means that you should never engage your spontaneity (instincts are luck are related), nor does it mean you never update your decision or criteria when you learn more. 

It just means you need to factor in the cost of being flexible, as well as the cost of being very considerate how you communicate it—to other people, and to yourself. When you don’t spend enough time doing this well, or you make too many bad guesses, people will see what you’re doing as flip flopping.

Will the outcome of the project be that different if you were flexible?

How much more success will it generate?

Or is it worth just staying disciplined in completing the work and putting it out there, to use it as a way to learn and to rally momentum?

Can you be flexible and simplify the project? Can you think smaller?

See also optionality cost, and where’s the opening?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *