Overcoming the Six Dangers of Flip-Flopping

Lack of confidence creates foolish urgency which blocks your ability to withhold judgment, gather information, and explore options.

One cause of too much urgency:

Questions from others pressure you to decide quickly. You don’t take enough time to gather information and explore options. The end result is you end up changing your mind. There are at least six dangers when leaders flop like a fish on the dock.

Six Dangers of flip-flopping:

  1. Lost credibility. You can’t lead if you aren’t trustworthy. The ability to change your mind is admirable and necessary when new information or contingencies emerge. Pig-headed leaders aren’t respected either. You’re a joke, however, when you frequently change your mind because you decided rashly.
  2. Neediness. Losing credibility creates pressure to gain it back. The more you try to gain credibility the needier you seem and the less credible you are.
  3. Second guessers. All leaders deal with second guessers. Flip-flopping leaders invite more second guessers.
  4. More rash decisions. Second guessers make inexperienced leaders feel pressured to make more decisions which results in lost credibility, again.
  5. Delay. Flip-flopping causes everyone to wait around for the next change. While they wait nothing gets done.
  6. Confusion.


In a dynamic environment, skillfully changing your mind is necessary. Everyone understands changing because circumstances change expresses wisdom.

Train yourself, on the other hand, to make considered decisions so you don’t rashly reconsider.

Five ways to overcome flip-flopping:

  1. Listen and ask questions. John Wooden said, “Go slow to go fast.”
  2. Consider the impact of your decision on all parties.
  3. Talk through your decisions privately before going public.
  4. Stay the course unless important factors change.
  5. Focus more on targets and less on methods.
  6. Make minor course corrections that keep you on target.

What causes leaders to flip-flop on their decisions?

How can leaders effectively change decisions without becoming flip-floppers?


More articles on making decisions:

Microsoft’s Chief Security Officer on Decision-Making

10 Decision-Making Power Tips from Dave Ramsey

Ten Tactics that Produce Brilliant Solutions


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