Are you flip-flopping or changing your mind?
Last week the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, responded to escalating Covid-19 cases announced further restrictions to our lockdown. Included in those changes was the closure of playgrounds. I generally avoid getting too involved online with politics, but I did tweet my displeasure, and I wrote an email to his office.
I was delighted when the following day, the decision to close playgrounds was reversed. There was an immediate backlash, and people accused him of flip-flopping and making poor decisions. The media attacks focused on Doug Ford's leadership competency. He eventually offered an apology for the decision to take ownership of the situation.
I have thought a lot about decision-making. When we make a decision, we have chosen to commit to a specific action. We have thought through the options or considered the situation and said, "I will do this/buy this/show up for this."
And sometimes, we find ourselves resisting our decision and even changing our minds. It's OK to change your mind. However, it can be frustrating for people around you, And it can contribute to inaction and/or self-doubt. Or the dreaded flip-flop. When someone continually reverses decisions or doesn't follow through on their commitments, it erodes trust.
So how can you know the difference between flip-flopping and changing your mind?
A big part of it comes down to something I call 'decision quality' Taking time to think through your choices and commitments upfront can minimize the need to change your course of action or change your mind later. Here are some things to reflect on when it comes to making better decisions.
What were the messages you received growing up when it came to decisions?
We all have internalized beliefs when it comes to changing our minds on a decision we make. I grew up in a home where there wasn't much negotiation on decisions. My parents decided what we would do, and that was it. It could be harsh. When I skipped a day of school in Grade 8, they decided I couldn't go to my Grade 8 graduation dance. It was harsh. They took away a once-in-a-lifetime event. I remember begging to go, but they wouldn't change their minds. A decision had been made. It didn't stop me from skipping school, but it did contribute to recognizing the damage that can occur when someone refuses to revisit a decision at a very young age. And it also led me to be very shaky when it came to decisions in my life. I would change my mind easily to please people to avoid being like my parents. Understanding this event in my life and how it shaped me helped create better criteria for decisions.
Was there room in your family to negotiate on decisions? Or did you have to go along with what your parents told you? Like most of our attitudes, thinking about where you learned about decision-making can help you understand and make confident choices.
What messages did you receive in the communities you belonged to?