Seth Godin’s thoughts on changing your mind speaks to the inevitability of needing to change and adapt to new information, and the need for skills in being responsive.

He says “It took me about five minutes to change my mind, after eighteen months of being wrong. I still remember how it felt to feel that flip switch in my head.”  That flip, the ability, when confronted with a world that doesn’t match the world in your head, to say, “wait, maybe I was wrong.” We’re not good at that.


When the depth, breadth and scope of change are uncertain, an organization often needs not pre-determined plans but flexible improvisation, an article published by MIT’s Leadership Center states.


Professor Wanda J. Orlikowski believes that improvisation skills in business create an agile, successful business. Her tips for success are all based on the benefits of implementing improvisation at work:

  • Plan to improvise – sometimes you can anticipate change, and if you can do that, you should plan to address that change in a flexible way
  • Adapt when you cannot foresee – as business rules are changing, adapt and test on a smaller, departmental scale before making company-wide changes
  • Create a learning environment – encourage communication between your employees in different locations and departments, push everyone to learn from each other
  • Encourage flexibility – to allow for improvisation, CEOs need to release some control and allow employees to experiment
  • Improvise today for success tomorrow – create a culture of experimentation and improvisation even when you’re not experiencing extreme change in practice for when you do need to change