They say that if you would have met Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates once a year, it would have been as if you were meeting a whole different person each time.
Mental flexibility allows founders to abandon a thought pattern, a habit or a perspective when it no longer serves a valuable purpose and find an alternative direction. At its peak, mental flexibility pushes founders to navigate smoothly through a variety of options and alternatives, even at times of significant stress. It supports them in adapting to new and unexpected situations quickly and efficiently.
We see that mentally flexible founders are the more coachable ones; they are receptive to feedback, happy to accept constructive criticism and implement it quickly. They tend to show great interest in external insight and constantly seek feedback from their network: investors, customers, colleagues and employees.
A CEO receives repeated feedback from her Customer Success team, according to which customers are asking for a product feature which was recently under prioritized. The founder decides to act on this new information and adjust the company’s roadmap accordingly, despite it being in conflict with her recently determined set of priorities.
A startup’s VP Sales is working with the CEO on adjusting the sales pitch so a different and more important aspect of the company’s value proposition is given more focus. While the founder seems initially receptive to this change, in the long term, the company’s current sales pitch does not reflect this adjustment. It appears that the founder dismissed the hard work that was put in, and decided to do it his way.
“I am aware of my strengths and weaknesses. When reaching a dilemma I will gather relevant data from professionals I trust, and make a thoughtful decision.”
“In the future, when a management team is in place, I will gather the relevant team members to make a thoughtful decision together.”
“I always require that employees come to me before making final decisions, especially with strategic matters.”
“I am constantly reviewing and debriefing myself, so mistakes are very often revealed.”
“I am pedantic and strive for perfection. I rarely make mistakes.”