It’s frustrating to hear individuals complain about a leader who has changed their mind on a topic, when they haven’t taken the time to consider why the change of mind took place. They crucify this leader for “flip-flopping” and being inconsistent. The world is full of the stigma that consistency is an admirable trait and that to be a good leader you must be consistent, that’s just a bunch of hogwash. Consistency is only a good thing if you are perfect. I love the quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, when he said “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”
Consistency is Not Necessarily a Good Thing!
Consistency is just another way to that one “could” describe the status-quo. If we all were consistent, we would all still be pooping in diapers and wearing onesies. I have met consistent sales people that pull in amazingly consistent below margin deals. I have worked with business owners who are remarkably consistent about not executing, and not setting goals. I have worked with employees that are bizarrely consistent about never growing their skills or reading a book that would help them.
Sure consistency could be described as a good thing …in some ways. But it also signifies the lack of change. The very definition of ‘consistent’ is: “(of a person, behavior, or process) Unchanging in achievement or effect over a period of time.” I don’t want to be a consistent leader, a consistent husband, or a consistent father; I want to be always improving – no matter how good I become. One of my core values in life is achievement. I’m motivated by achievement. If I was consistent I think I might shrivel up and into a lifeless, depressed corpse.
Embrace Flip-Flop Leadership
The definition of ‘Flip-flop’ in the context I am discussing is, “Make an abrupt reversal of policy.” So as a leader are you afraid of changing a policy or process for fear of being thought of as a flip-flop?
If you make a decision and it sucks, then make a better decision – FLIP-FLOP!
If you make a bad hire, hire someone better – FLIP-FLOP!
If your sales strategy is not bringing in the numbers you need, don’t ride the storm out for 12 more months; make a better strategy – FLIP-FLOP!
If it is not improving, change it.
One aspect of a flip-flop is correcting a bad decision. Another aspect though is flip-flopping because something has changed. Changes like: your industry, your market, buying patterns, a crisis, technology, competition, etc… There are thousands of things that could push the button for needing to change a policy, process, or way of doing things.
Good leaders are strong enough to make the right decision, despite what others think.” Tweet This
There is an art to the flip-flop. But it comes down to the ‘WHY.’ As a leader it is important to explain why you are changing your mind and explain the background information that led to the change.
Don’t be an ignoramus, embrace the flip-flop and achieve great things!