It appears that statistically speaking huge pivots after starting down different initial path are outliers when it comes to companies that experience massive growth.
Is there any reason to believe that pivots increase the odds of limited future returns?
A pivot is just a way for the business to get closer to product market fit, which means increased odds of success for the startup.
Depending on what is getting pivoted, the effort required could be as simple as restructuring the product messaging and making corresponding incremental changes to the product or it could be re-building the product from the ground up. So planning pivots well is very important because most often, the biggest problem that startups get into is running out of funds and big pivots can really push the startup to the edge of their available resources.
What if you pivoted in the wrong direction? That would hurt you right? So to answer your question, pivoting is not a solution to your problems unless it's a solution to your problem...You can tell me your picot and I could tell you pretty easily if its the right thing to do.