This is a trap I often fall into and I’m always embarrassed when I do.
Sometimes someone presents a point of view to me and I listen but disagree. Then later someone else says the same thing and I listen a bit more. Finally a third person says it and I change my mind. Terrible to admit it but what I’ve done in this situation is decide that I carry two votes and so it takes three people to out-vote me. When really my decision making should have nothing to do with the number of people who tell me.
One important attribute that sets apart real leaders is their willingness to switch track when presented with the ‘right’ idea, no matter how much they have invested in the current track. This is what makes an agile leader and in turn an agile organisation.
But for some managers, quite unknowingly, their ego is simply too big to change after a suggestion from just one person. Or maybe they are just worried that they will be seen as flighty if they change quickly. Whatever the reason, these are the people who need to validate the change by ensuring there is sufficient weight behind it. There are even some managers who assign varying levels of votes to different people.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to suggest that we should drop everything we are doing the moment someone shows us a better way. Some things are like oil tankers and take a long time to turn around. But what we should do is clearly acknowledge that our view has changed and, most critically, start to plan from the new viewpoint.
Hopefully I’ll learn to get better at spotting when I’m counting votes instead of listening to the arguments.