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January 11, 2013

Flip Flopping? Or Getting Smarter?

Sandals Drying on ClotheslineIt seems like every time I turn on the news I hear a story about a politician who “changed their mind or priorities.”  Is changing your mind or moving in a different direction a bad thing?  Maybe it is. But maybe it’s not. Are they flip- flopping… or just getting smarter?

You might ask yourself the same question with regard to your business.

Over the years, I think I have been pretty consistent about the things that really count; Mission, Vision, Values. These are things that I think make our company special, and I won’t let them change.  But, let’s face it, in business the conditions are always changing. If you want to continue to be innovative and relevant you need to adjust. Maybe you stop offering some products and services. Maybe you change the structure of your organization. Maybe you totally change direction. Sometimes we get so set in our ways that we refuse to change even when it hurts our organization.

Mind you change is difficult. But it keeps you fresh. We never used to use freelancers – thinking we could do it all ourselves. We now have a few trusted freelancers who have become an important part of our team and help us contain costs. I used to think I was doing my employees a favor by not asking them to contribute to their healthcare. Now I know that I was not helping them to be good consumers.

We don’t need to look too far to see a great example of a leader who changed his mind. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO in an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek said, “CEOs and top executives get so planted in their old ideas, they refuse or don’t have the courage to admit that they’re now wrong. Maybe the most under-appreciated thing about Steve (Jobs) was that he had the courage to change his mind.”

So, the next time you decide to dig your heels in and keep doing what you are doing, stop and think about it. Ask questions of your employees and clients. Try to get more information and see if you might benefit from changing your mind. Some might criticize you, but if the actions are good for your company, be courageous… go ahead, “flip-flop.”

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