How to Flip Flop Appropriately

Written by: Cameron Morrissey | The Manager's Diary “The most successful business people hold onto the old just as long as it’s good & grab the new just as soon as it’s better” ~Lee Iacocca “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” -John C. Maxwell We talk a lot about perseverance because that is typically in far greater need than the desire to change course or stop short of the goal. Changing your mind or changing direction is not necessarily a bad thing. The key is not to quit on the GOAL, but perhaps it is worth quitting on HOW you get to your goal. The quote above from Lee Iacocca summarizes the ideal scenario perfectly where change is always done at the instant one option becomes better than another. But how do you know when that time is? Start with these three questions:

  • Why are you changing? What exactly has failed? What results were you looking for? Basically make sure that you have your goals and metrics defined.
  • Is there a better option? Instead of changing direction entirely, are there tweaks to the current model that make more sense? Have you explored all of the best options?
  • What data determines whether one option is better than another? What is a valid determiner of direction? It is incredibly important that you make your decisions based on data and not emotion, so look to the data. It also highlights the importance of the metrics.
  • Now changing direction is not something to be taken lightly, it requires a loss of time and resources that were already spent on the other direction, and new vigor in re-launching momentum in the new direction. The ability to recognize that your current direction is not going to get you to your goal is a crucial aspect of leadership. Perseverance should not equal stubbornness, when a change needs to be made, make it…..but ensure that you are doing so for the right reasons: Be clear on what is happening, what your goal is and what metrics determine success or failure.