What if you’re wrong?
What if an idea, approach, solution, thought, or answer you have at this very moment is flat out not right? What if the thing you’ve done successfully fifty times before in this exact same situation is not the right solution in THIS situation?
How would you know you are wrong? How would you get another, better solution to appear? If you knew that there was another approach, would you be willing to admit it? Would you be willing to let go of what has been successful in the past in order to let this new solution be successful? Would you be willing to bite your tongue and ask questions to understand rather than behaving in a way that proves you are right?
I’m sure I’m not the only one that has seen 2 “rights” becoming very wrong.
Where two people, both with excellent talents and expertise have become so wrapped up in what they know how to do well that they can’t acknowledge the value of the other person, thus missing a chance to make what they are both good at even better.
Not that this is easy to do because we have likely been rewarded for being right. In fact, likely earned our positions based on a track record of success. But just like failure can become a barrier to others’ ideas (e.g., “We tried that before and it didn’t work”), so can success.
One of the many ironies in leadership is that the more successful we are, the more important it is to prepare to be wrong.
Or… to be able to try something different than what we would normally do. Or… at least to be willing to consider that a method other than ours may work just as well as the way we would do it. Being willing to be wrong is a risk, and certainly shouldn’t be the approach in every situation, AND yet might be valuable to consider in some circumstances.
Why? Because that is how we learn, how we add new tools to our toolbox, and how we can tap into the value that others bring to the table.
As a leader, what do you see as other pros, for yourself and for your team, of preparing to be wrong? How can leaving the door open to failure positively impact you and the people you lead?