Change Your Mind, Engage Their Hearts

“If you never change your mind, why have one?”
~ Edward de Bono

Weak leaders stay the course to save face. Afraid of looking silly, dumb gets dumber. Strong leaders eat crow for dinner (tastes like chicken).

When You Must Change Direction

You’ve taken a strong stand, rallied people around your vision, and worked hard to engage their hearts and minds. You’ve got momentum.
But life’s messy. Circumstances change. New information. Changing dynamics. Competing pressures. You can change your mind without looking foolish. In fact, changing course elegantly builds credibility.

How to Change Your Mind

  1. Be Honest – Start with yourself. Understand what you’re changing and why. Be clear about what’s changed the information, the circumstances or just your viewpoint. Be sure you can explain it to yourself first. If you were wrong, that’s okay. Be ready to admit that.
  2. Communicate – Be honest with others. Be straightforward. If you were wrong, say so. If circumstances changed, explain the dynamics. Use this as an opportunity to model and teach leadership.
  3. Say Thank You – Thank them for their commitment and support. Acknowledge effort, and explain why it’s not wasted.
  4. Engage – If venting is necessary, take a minute. Address concerns. Explain more.
  5. Communicate Consistency – Remind them of what hasn’t changed. Vision. Core values. Teamwork. Works great as a conversation.
  6. Solicit support – Describe the new vision. Ask for support. Describe specific behaviors.
  7. Establish next steps – Set time to check in.
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Posted in Authenticity & Transparency and tagged , , , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.

2 Comments

  1. This reminds me a something I just heard on quitting and that it’s ok to quit and that many leaders press on. It’s hard when you staff is not ready to quit and you are. This gives a nice way of approaching it.thanks

  2. Jim, Great example. The irony is that the more committed they are to the vision, the harder it is to accept the change. We need to slow down and allow folks to catch up with our thinking.

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