“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
- 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.
- 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.
- Say Thank You – Thank them for their commitment and support. Acknowledge effort, and explain why it’s not wasted.
- Engage – If venting is necessary, take a minute. Address concerns. Explain more.
- Communicate Consistency – Remind them of what hasn’t changed. Vision. Core values. Teamwork. Works great as a conversation.
- Solicit support – Describe the new vision. Ask for support. Describe specific behaviors.
- Establish next steps – Set time to check in.