7 Ways to Stop Being Hardheaded

Failure is the result of inflexibility, but so is success.

Thomas Edison said, “The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” But, he didn’t try the same thing over and over.

the difference between a closed mind and a genius is positive results.png

The difference between a closed mind and a genius is positive results.

The dark side of persistence is inflexibility, stubbornness, resistance, hardheadedness, and a closed mind. When persistence is unwillingness to adapt, you’re doomed.

3 reasons leaders are hardheaded:

  1. History. It worked in the past. 
  2. Attachment. They fall in love with their ideas.
  3. Ego. Adapting feels like failure.

Be hardheaded:

  1. Cling to the timeless idea behind your mission. If the Pony Express saw itself as a communications company, it might still exist. What’s your timeless idea?
  2. Don’t compromise core values.
  3. Ignore critics who don’t have skin in the game.
  4. Face challenges aggressively. If it isn’t challenging, you’re wasting your talent.

7 ways to stop being hardheaded:

Hard-heads over-commit to past behaviors.

  1. Make adapting part of organizational culture.
    • Keep asking, “What are we learning from mistakes?” Reward answers.
    • Develop several options and choose one.
    • Evaluate frequently. What’s working? What might be better?
  2. Test assumptions. It’s easy to evaluate results. What assumptions are behind strategies?
  3. Mitigate optimism with pessimism. Untested optimism is seduction. An optimist with a closed mind is a menace.
  4. Ask, “What are we learning?” Provide time to reflect.
  5. Learn from the failures of others.
  6. Invite an outsider in. If listening to yourself isn’t working, try listening to someone else.
  7. Stay on target, but stop doing what isn’t working. Persistent problems indicate too much persistence. Stopping is one of leadership’s greatest challenges.

Flexible leaders:

  1. Bend before breaking.
  2. Explore options.
  3. Make small adjustments.

How has being hardheaded served you?

When is persistence being hardheaded?