We’ve talked about Business Addictions before. In my post “Are you an addict?” from earlier this year, we talked about addiction to accountability, dedication, and productivity. Most of these addictions are “acceptable” in the workplace. People don’t usually call you out for being too dedicated or productive. But they may be aware (and even annoyed) that you can’t get through a meeting without checking your phone. Or you may be falling short of expectations on projects because you made commitments to too many projects.
But there is another business addiction I observe that immediately turns negative and is obvious in its disruption of productivity and a committed path forward. The addiction to being right!
The problem? It sends the signal that all others are wrong. “I’m right, you’re wrong.” “My perception is correct, yours is not.” Once you turn decisions into right vs wrong choices, there will never be a committed team effort to accomplish the goal. Right vs Wrong creates winners and losers. If I’m on the losing side of that equation, I may comply, but I will never commit. If the decision is a Right vs Wrong decision than you’re going to expect me to commit to a direction that I believe is wrong. Human nature keeps that from happening. It’s not realistic.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t have strong ideas and points of view. We don’t’ bring much value to the team if we simply present a cookie-cutter response to the situation. However, we must also realize that others have equally strong and “right” views. We must be dedicated to finding a joint path, shared stories, new movies. Not just proving that we’re right.
If we can frame the decisions that we face in a Right vs Right fashion, we have a better chance of moving forward as a team. Right vs Right turns our decision making away from winning and losing and toward a dilemma. When we face a dilemma, we’re saying there are two equally right answers, we just can’t do both. We must work out as a team which direction we’re going to head and fully commit to that decision.
Dilemmas are difficult. The concept of being on the “horns of a dilemma” means that you’re going to get gored either way. You’re just choosing which horn will gore you. Dilemmas are difficult.
But, facing our decisions as dilemmas between two or more “right” answers, gives us the chance to come together as a team and accomplish a goal together.
Addiction to being right prevents us from doing things together. It only creates winners and losers.