Think for a moment about the last time you were convinced, positive, certain you were right about a business issue… and it turned out you were wrong. There was a better way, a great idea, an improved method! How did your opinion change? How long did it take for you to be open to the differing belief?
If it’s possible that you, a business partner, employee or co-worker has ever been “dead wrong” about a business subject, then please consider and share the following.
There is a lethal combination of two factors which may be causing communication problems and ultimately serious issues within your business:
Factor 1) I am right. Therefore, everyone else is wrong.
How does this happen? It’s not that difficult for the following to occur:
- We work in the business every day; we have the experience, knowledge and even proof which justifies our belief.
- We have a strong opinion on the matter.
- We develop an emotional attachment to our opinion.
- Our opinion is so strong that we filter information to support our beliefs.
So, what’s the problem?
It’s easy to believe that our personal view of reality is the only correct version of reality.
Consider this quote by Mark Twain:
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble; it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so!”
This inability to be wrong or understand another’s point of view can affect all areas of your business, including the happiness of others. The effects can be stagnation, demoralization, and even hostility.
Factor 2) Lack of communication around differences of opinion.
The problems start when the communication is stopped or hindered by the “right” person. Furthermore, when good communication is absent, we may continue to build upon our feelings of “right”, as we do not hear the other side.
It’s a slippery slope! Ponder:
Jared has a very strong opinion.
You can’t reason with Jared; he just won’t hear it!
Let’s just do it Jared’s way; he’s not going to be open to my opinion anyway.
Open communication — listening, consideration, and speaking — can help turn differences of opinion into much stronger ideas for the business than any one opinion can offer.
Steven Covey wrote in his best-seller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
This approach can help remind us that our version of “right” is just one of many versions of right.
It takes vulnerability and courage to be open to contradictory viewpoints. But in the end, everyone benefits: you, the business, your team members and of course your customers.