Is the Fickle Factor impacting you?

Belief and Convictions

We all know people who never can seem to make up their mind or stick to a decision, their course can change as fast as the wind changes directions.  From day to day or sometimes hour to hour, it’s hard to get behind their initiatives because you know it’s only a matter of time before it going to change yet again.  This is the Fickle Factor.

It can be frustrating in any setting, but in business it can impact every area of the business from customer relations and employee morale to new product or service development.  And when it comes to goal setting and strategic planning, clear strategic objectives are nearly impossible to execute because they are always changing like a flavor of the month club.  

Fickle: “marked by lack of steadfastness, constancy, or stability, Given to erratic changeableness.”

Merriam Webster Dictionary

One of the challenges in any leadership role is taking ownership of your decisions.  Some leaders are quick to say they take ownership of their decisions, but their positions can change so fast the only decision they are taking ownership of is the last decision they made!  It’s very confusing for the team they are trying to lead because there never is a clear direction.  The Fickle Factor is always messing it up. 

If you fear at times you may be a contributor of the Fickle Factor in your business, I can assure you that you are not alone.   In one’s quest to always make the right choices and at the same time having so much information at our fingertips (thanks Google) it is very easy to fall into a trap of second guessing or wanting to change direction midstream and business owners are not immune to this.  Information is great, but the downside is it can be a real hindrance to productive and effective leadership.

One thing we have learned over the years at Aspire is that we’re 100% certain none of our clients have ever wanted to intentionally fail.  One of the biggest benefits of working with a Strategic Advisor is simply having someone to talk through your goals and objectives.  It is the best way to gain clarity of the direction or path of the business.  It is also one of the easiest ways to reduce the power of the Fickle Factor in a leader or manager and it almost always increases their self-confidence.  

The clearer a leader is on the goals and objectives of the business the more confidently they can cast that vision to their management team and broader company team.

Managing the Fickle Factor….What to do?

If the offender is someone you work with or a client –

  • Increase the dialogue. 
    • Repeat what they say back to them, to make them hear what they are saying.  
    • Ask clarifying questions. 
    • Write down the directive being agreed on.   The more clarity you can extrapolate from the directive, the harder it is for the Fickle Factor to mess it up. 

If you are the offender –

  • Try to eliminate as many outside distractions as possible. 
    • Anytime you decrease outside distractions you increase your focus on the task at hand. 
  • No-Phone/Text/Email Meeting Challenge.
    • At your next important meeting tell everyone in the room you want to “conduct a little experiment” and politely ask them to silence their phones and put them face down or out of sight.  
    • If attendees have tablets or laptops ask them to put them in airplane mode or turn off email/text notifications.  
    • Provide yourself and the group a clear time you will break so they can “reconnect”.  This is critical to reduce stress of not being connected.  
    • You will be shocked at how much more engaged your meeting attendees are or how much more focused you are if you’re individually practicing this.

What do you think, is the Fickle Factor impacting your business?  Have you seen an increase or decrease in it’s presence in recent years?  Do you have any leaders in your business that may be struggling with this?  Have you tried to get them some help?   If you have any additional thoughts or suggestions on this topic we would love to hear your thoughts in the space below. 

Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach