The Brilliance Series: Flexibility

The Brilliance Series invites you to take a closer look at each of the seven Emergenetics® Attributes. Whether you are craving more information about your own Profile or interested in better understanding the preferences of others, the series will offer insights to shine a light on the gifts of each Attribute. This week, we’re exploring Flexibility.

An Overview

At Emergenetics, we define Flexibility as a person’s willingness to accommodate the thoughts and actions of others. It is important to note that this Behavior focuses on the impact of imposed change. After all, people are generally happy to adjust when it’s their own idea to do so!

In today’s environment there is a great deal of discussion around the value of adaptability. As the world rapidly evolves, it is vital that individuals have the capacity to navigate transformation.

While some may think that being third-third Flexible is innately equated with resiliency, the truth is that we are all flexible. No matter where we find ourselves on the continuum, every individual has the capacity for change.

People in the first-third of Flexibility typically want a compelling reason to shift course and may need some extra time to process modifications once they have occurred. When a first-third team member does get on board with transition, they will often be excited to drive the initiative forward as they get energized when they have an opportunity to see things to fruition.

Those in the third-third are usually quick to embrace change as they are excited to explore and integrate different options and tend to see decisions as “rough drafts.” While they appreciate the reasoning for a new path, they are frequently willing to take the explanation at face value and shift gears with one quick breath.

Individuals who are in the second-third of Flexibility may adopt either style based on the situation. For example, if they are particularly passionate about a direction or nearing completion on a project and are then asked to transition, they might implement a first-third approach. If they are neutral about a decision or timeline, they could be inclined to apply a third-third style.

The first-third of Flexibility is commonly described as firm and focused, and the third-third is often seen as amendable and accommodating.

The Inner Monologue

To describe how this Attribute comes to life, my colleague, Bill Zubek, and I put together a short video. I invite you to view it now!

The Brilliances

Every part of the Flexibility Attribute has its own natural gifts. The first-third of this Behavior is associated with brilliances in:

  • Making decisions easily
  • Staying on track and keeping forward momentum
  • Encouraging thought around the reasoning and necessity of change
  • Seeing a project through to completion

The third-third is typically known for its gifts in:

  • Multitasking
  • Embracing ambiguity
  • Being open to alternatives at any time
  • Acquiescing to new ideas and adjustments

Those in the second-third are often able to borrow from both sides of the spectrum as they navigate their work and life, allowing them to incorporate evolutions with ease or persuade to hold course as well as welcoming uncertainty or encouraging the group to land on a direction.


As we consider engagement through the lens of this Behavior, I encourage you to pay attention to the tips that resonate most with you to spark your own enthusiasm. If you are trying to energize someone in a different third, jot down a few notes that feel scratchy (or uncomfortable) to you as those are likely to connect with people who favor a different approach.

In the first-third, remember to:

  • Discuss options up front – Please note: People with this preference like to have choices. They simply want to know what they are before a decision is made.
  • Promote prioritization to narrow possibilities
  • Build in recovery time after change
  • Focus on one project at a time
  • Find a quiet environment that supports concentration

For the third-third, be mindful to:

  • Consider options throughout the process
  • Accommodate the desire to delay decisions
  • Identify elements that can continue to be tinkered with after a direction is chosen
  • Embrace multitasking
  • Engage in an open-concept space where unexpected interruptions can occur

Individuals in the second-third may find motivation in any of the recommendations above. If you have this preference, check in with yourself throughout your day or as you are engaging in different aspects of your work or home life to assess whether a first- or third-third style will better suit your interests.

Flexing in Flexibility

In connecting with others – whether those are colleagues, direct reports, friends or family – you are likely to find that their Flexibility percentiles vary. To support them, I encourage you to reflect on the advice below so you can adapt your style to their needs and allow them to shine through their brilliances.

If you are connecting with someone in the first-third, do your best to:

  • Stick to what has been agreed upon
  • Suggest fewer alternatives
  • Provide advanced notice of change
  • Communicate a compelling reason for any adjustments
  • Acknowledge when decisions are pending

For those in the third-third, try to:

  • Make space for further exploration after a conclusion is reached
  • Allow for revisions and fluid timelines
  • Give individuals space to deliberate
  • Practice being patient and open when alternatives arise
  • Clarify when additional options can be considered, or outcomes are final

If your counterpart has a preference in second-third Flexibility, I recommend coming prepared with a good reason why you need to introduce a change if you are going to shift course. Regardless of where they fall on the spectrum, your efforts will be appreciated. Then, lean on them to guide the conversation and adopt the appropriate strategies based on how they are feeling that day.

As I conclude this post, I would like to thank you for joining our Brilliance Series on behalf of all our authors and video contributors from our Learning & Development team! By taking the time to understand each Attribute and creating the space for all seven to feel respected and included, you will promote a more positive, empathetic and productive environment in every sphere of your life.

Explore the other entries in our series: Analytical, Structural, Social, Conceptual, Expressiveness and Assertiveness.

Learn how you can flex to support each Emergenetics Attribute. Take a look at the courses in The egLearning Library or fill out the form below to talk to one our team members about potential training solutions!

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