Do we have the guts to be wrong?
“Either you are wrong or I am right”? How many times have you met or spoken to people that all you heard was their “right” point and your “wrong” point? How many times have you walked away from a person only because you felt that he or she was too invested in hearing themselves?
I believe this is global phenomena that crosses over countries and cultures . I also believe, that most of the conflicts of the world, exist because people are not willing to stop the train, get off, wait for the next one and meanwhile do some reflection on themselves.
I have decided to re-visit this topic I wrote about years ago because it is so relevant today.
Good management, in my mind, has a lot to do with one’s capacity to seek, search and select the “truth” by listening at least as much as speaking. We send a message in everything we do, everything that we say and everything that we represent.
We are what we are but we can always be better just by listening and hearing the other side. Can we do it without help? Can we do it just by realizing that we need to do something differently?
I know a little country that is in the international news all the time. Its reputation is mixed. It has a mighty army, it has produced many major breakthroughs in science, technology, music and medicine, it has some of the most beautiful women in the world but it also is in denial, and I mean Huge Denial.
Think about it for a second. Just hear me out before you declare me wrong. I have received hundreds of e-mails over the years telling me amazing things and amazing figures about this little country. Since I am a little man from this little country, I am always proud of the great achievements. I am also amazed as a person that has traveled the world, to see many little people like me in my little country, see so little of their capacity to make the little – big.
Why is it that the business people, the citizens and the management of this country don’t see the true essence and the reality of their economic future? Why so many smart people don’t see what some of the greatest minds of the world are seeing? Is there any limit to one’s denial?
When Jack Welsh, the former CEO of GE, took over a “small” company, he realized that to make it “big”, people will need to change their approach, their style, their attitudes and their perception.
He realized that the art of excellence requires excellent people using excellent methodologies and achieving excellent results.
He made GE a $100B company, which if you compare to the GDP of the little country I know, it ain’t bad…. But Jack knew when something different had to be done. Does the “little” country know?
Do they realize that their wealth and poverty gap is increasing faster then many western countries? Do they realize that they are losing market share in several countries because of the negative PR they are receiving in the international press? Do they realize that during times of economic distress, other countries have made sure to develop and inject new vitality into their universities while in their “little” place they are killing the future of the universities?
Do the people of the “little” country realize that if 80% of the population is supported by taxing 20% of the population, it is not going to hold water forever?
Denial my friends, is the name of the game. If I am right and you are always wrong, down the line I will collapse, and you will realize how wrong you were…. Wake up friends, this little country is in trouble and only a few realize the magnitude and depth of the problem.
Help yourselves by helping this place. Get involved with practical people that are trying to make a change. Support sound and logical fiscal policies even if you know that they are going to hurt. Help friends get jobs if you know the right people, volunteer in your children’s schools to save the collapsing system by supporting the teachers with your knowledge.
Last but not least, since management is my field, how about following the advice of ancient saga about starting to understand knowledge is when one realizes that he doesn’t know.
Lets “Walk our Talk” by realizing how wrong we all are so many times, and how deep our denials can be. Get involved in helping all of us, become the people that know what is right by admitting sometimes we can be wrong.