“I’m willing to admit that I may not always be right
but I’m never wrong.”
Samuel Goldwyn, American Film Producer
One of the most common traits I’ve come across in working with leaders over the past 20 years is the assumption that your opinion is always the right one.
In a world that has become more volatile and disruptive that is a very risky strategy for best results.
Yet, that approach seems to be becoming increasingly more popular.
And nowhere more visible than in politics.
Each side is right, the other side is wrong – but the results for the people are not reflecting that truth. Something is being missed. An un-willingess to really listen, with a view to understanding.
We both may think we’re right, and we may even fall out about it – but in that case we’re both wrong because we put our own ego ahead of each other and the truth. And our relationship will most likely suffer.
In any organisation, ego is bad for results in the long run. Especially in the digital age.
One way to get a better result is to ask yourself this question:
How do I know my opinion is the right one? (Other than ‘because it is’…:) )
Am I willing to listen to others with the goal of understanding their point of view? Am I willing to at least consider the opposite to my opinion?
Or are you really just listening like most people, until you get a chance to tell the other your opinion?
If you’re reading this thinking ‘This doesn’t apply to me, because I’m a great listener’, think again. I know of no-one who doesn’t fall into the ‘I’m right’ mindset trap. (Now knows as the IRMT…)
Here is a very thought provoking TED talk only released recently by Ray D’Alio. He is the founder of one of the most successful hedge-fund companies in the world. In his talk, he outlines one of his companies strategies to protect against the ‘I’m always right’ mindset and their approach has enabled the best ideas and decisions to emerge.
Because in his business, you may think you’re right, but the market doesn’t care about that and will just do it’s own thing – and could end up costing you millions. D’Alio’s company has been one of the most consistent performers on Wall Street and he puts it down to being ‘willing to take the pain of getting to reality’.
I guess the same thing carries true in any organisation and all of our lives.
I might think I’m right, but results aren’t matching up, then maybe it’s time to be a little more flexible mentally. Maybe it’s time to at least consider the possibility that you might be wrong.
It will mean avoiding more pain in the long run.
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