I have an important question to ask you (and, to ask me…).
First, let’s acknowledge this – there have been some really big decisions throughout the history of business decisions that have been whoppingly wrong. (And, some that have been whoppingly right!).
Now, here’s the question.
Is it possible that you could be wrong about something?
Even something pretty big – pretty consequential?
I was doing some reflecting on big mistakes made. Everyone seems to acknowledge that it is a good business practice to “fail fast, fail often,” in order to got to the plan/product/strategy that works.
In retrospect, it is not all that hard for a person to say “I was wrong about that” — in retrospect! But, in the midst of a specific moment or initiative, people are very reluctant, it seems, to say “I could be wrong about this.”
So, I’ve come up with a set of phrases. Call these phrases to use when pondering your work endeavors. Call these the “possible” realities. They all start with “You,” but they could just as easily start with “I.” Here they are:
You could be right
You could be wrong
You could be right – for now
You could be wrong – for now
You could be right or wrong – with this team
You could be making the right bet
You could be making the wrong bet
You may no longer be right – tomorrow
You may no longer be wrong – tomorrow
You could be right – and then wrong – and then right again…
So… in other words, getting things right is difficult. Keeping on the right path is equally difficult.
And, admitting that we are wrong, or on the wrong path (and, it is possible to be wrong, or to be on the wrong path) is extremely difficult.