“My speciality is being right when
other people are wrong.”
– George Bernard Shaw
The man sat in front of me in silence.
“I’ve just realised something very big.”
The words were from a very smart and experienced leader and we had been discussing their approach to how the interacted with their staff. He had been silent for over a minute as he digested something I’d shared around the inner approach to business.
“I’ve been focused on ‘being right’. But I should be focused on ‘getting it right’.”
It was a beautiful way of saying something that’s prevalent for many.
“When people speak with me I see it as a competition. They are on the other side of the table. The game is to win. But I’ve just realised that when I think I’m winning, I’m actually losing because of the consequences of my behaviour. I need to change the game I’m playing.”
Even very aware people can get caught up with the game of ‘being right’.
We get entrenched in our opinions and viewpoints. And we often (unconsciously) are just not open to anyone seeing things differently to us. Our egos lock in to our positions/perspectives.
And in today’s volatile world, that is a recipe for disaster in business because the one thing we need more than ever is diversity of perspective.
And it also plays into the quality of our relationships.
I remember a friend of mine who’s a counsellor telling me about a conversation they’d had with a couple who’d been having difficulties. She had brought them to a place where they both realised that they were entrenched in their positions and there was no flexibility to bend…
“As far as you’re both concerned, you’re both right and the other is wrong”, she said.
But as a result, the thing that’s suffering is what you are both here for. Your relationship!”
In that moment, they both realised that their approach was wrong for the results they wanted to create.
In that moment, they stopped being on opposite sides of the table, and joined each other on the same side of the table to focus on solving ‘the real problem’.
And it’s the same approach my client above has taken from that point where he had his ‘big’ breakthrough. He has stopped trying to be right all the time and now focuses on getting his team on the same side of the table to attack the problems that need to be solved.
Maybe this week, instead of defaulting into ‘being right’, you can consciously focus on ‘getting it right’?