Saturday, November 28, 2009

Your Way Or The Right Way?

We all like to think that we do the right thing.

But it's very easy to get lazy and reverse the causality--to believe that something is right because we do it.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm "Rahmbo" Emanuel famously said of the Great Recession, "Never allow a crisis to go to waste."

Yet pushing your own agenda in the face of facts is likely to end in disaster, whether your name is George W. Bush or Barack Hussein Obama.

Nor is this peril restricted to politics. How often in your company do you find yourself arguing for "your" position? Eventually, you may even forget why you decided on that position to begin with.

The young are often obsessed with being right. One talented young fellow I know argues with everyone, trying to prove his point. But "being" right is an oxymoron. You cannot "be" right. You can only choose rightly.

Forget about being right, or getting your way. Focus instead on finding the right way, and the hard work it takes to follow it through all its twists, turns, and dead ends.

2 comments:

alice said...

Hear hear. And the journey never ends, of course.

In my day, the goal was to be open-minded rather than right. Certainty was regarded as a suspicious characteristic! Which led to a lot of indecisiveness and general hanging around doing very little... of course ;-)

What does Dr Phil say- "Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?" He seems to have that one pegged :-)

Foobarista said...

The real issue is you may have neither. Pick a way that's workable. Far too many people get caught up in academic notions of "rightness" that they don't make a decision until it's too late.

Business, especially startups, operate on the logic of the battlefield. You have to make decisions with the information that's in front of you, and you have to be flexible enough to ditch the decision if the information it is based on changes significantly.