One member of my team called my ability to rethink decisions frustrating. It drove him nuts. I thought it was the pursuit of excellence. Now I know it’s dangerous.
Rethinkers lead sluggish organizations.
When leaders are great at rethinking, decisions aren’t final.
4 dangers of rethinking:
- Foot dragging when decisions are unpopular. Just wait. Things will change.
- Discussing without deciding. No one pulls the trigger today when you habitually rethink decisions tomorrow.
- Making firm decisions isn’t worth it. Why put yourself out there when nothing is final?
- Commitment to decisions comes slowly. No one dedicates energy to decisions that eventually change.
5 ways to deal with rethinkers:
- The decision didn’t go their way so they bring it up again. When this happens, ask if there is any new information to consider. If not, press forward.
- Bias toward forward movement makes some people reluctant to stop current activities. They say, “We need to stay the course.” Respond by acknowledging concerns and postpone the reconsideration. Be sure to follow up.
- Fear or uncertainty emerges after decisions are made. It felt good for awhile, but anxiety took over. This is a courage issue not a decision-making issue. Ask, “What will be different tomorrow?”
- A power-player feels left out, so they bring it up again. Include power-players in decisions.
- Silence in the meeting turns to dissent in the hall. Clarify the meaning of silence in meetings. Go beyond silence is consent. Silence is support. If you don’t speak up, you’re on board.
4 ways to know it’s time to rethink:
- New relevant information emerges.
- Circumstances change in substantive ways.
- The possibility of substantive improvement is real.
- Qualify “what if’s” and “what about’s” before rethinking decisions.
Improvement before movement is ineffective.
Make your best decision and take action. Successful leaders improve while taking action.
What types of rethinking have you encountered?
How might leaders deal with the problem of rethinking?
**This post is inspired by chapter 6 of “Simple Sabotage,” by Galford, Frisch, and Greene.