There’s a really strange phenomenon in certain arenas (particularly politics) where it’s considered a virtue to strongly hold a viewpoint and never change your position. This is strange because, as Rory Sutherland points out here, if you did this in business you’d likely run into frictions that put you out of business. Changing your mind is an imperative when presented with new data.
And herein lies one magic quality of business. It is the only area of human activity where you get paid to change your mind.
In politics, in punditry, in academia, there is great value attached to consistency. Changing your mind risks loss of face. Your ability to deliver plausible generalisations counts for a lot. There is social pressure to adopt the dominant frame of thought. No one gets invited on Newsnight to say ‘I’m not really sure’ and ‘It’s kind of complicated’.
It’s like starting out on a journey with a road map in front of you, encountering unforeseen obstacles (road closures or standstill traffic), and never wavering from the original plan. We should be better about being open-minded about political figures being honest about adapting views. Nothing that’s fixed ever improves — it’s best case scenario is stasis.