Ah, the hobgoblin of foolish consistency.
How does a leader continue to look like a leader while changing directions? Two things are important. First, he or she must make the new decision based on a reassessment of the circumstances in the form of either (a) the discovery of more information, which, had it been known, would have altered the original decision, or (b) a change in the situation on the ground that necessitates a re-evaluation of costs and benefits.
It's important, however, that the change in strategies or actions be a result of applying consistent goals and values to a changed situation, not a change in goals or values, which would destroy a leader's credibility pretty quickly. Second, in keeping with the first point, a good leader must explain with patience and clarity the reasons for the change; the public will not follow an uncertain leader, but will follow a leader who knows what he or she seeks to achieve and yet is thoughtful in evaluating the circumstances at hand. That requires good, prompt, honest communication to avoid misinterpreting either resolve or competence.
Posted by: Samson151 | September 22, 2009 11:40 AM
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