Do we have a problem with being wrong? Two things happened over the last week that made me think about this.
The first was a conversation that was going on LinkedIn about Sweden and their response to the Corona Virus and the fact that they’re not imposing strict quarantine and lockdown measures and letting people just get on with things. And the post was someone posing the question about whether or not Sweden will be proven right or proved wrong about this.
And someone who has been posting quite voraciously on LinkedIn about the fact that they think the UK’s response has been wrong made this comment which was “On two material fronts, Sweden’s decision was the correct one, regardless of the outcome.” So what this person is setting themselves up for is to be right, no matter what the outcome is.
They’re saying that even if Sweden’s death toll spikes and goes away beyond any other countries, they’re still right to do it. So they’re leaving themselves with no room to be wrong. That created an argument. A narrative for themselves that says no matter what happens, I’m right.
The second was a conversation I was having with a friend on Instagram who is an anti-vaxer and I was talking to them about how they are going to respond when there is a vaccine for Corona Virus, whether they would take that or not. And the comment that she made was “I swallowed the pill (haha) and now wouldn’t touch a vaccine if you paid me”. So over the course of the argument, what she’s saying there is that there are no circumstances where I would admit that I’ve been wrong about being an anti-vaxer.
And it got me thinking about work and it got me thinking about how often we accept or acknowledge that we were about something. And that’s something that’s quite rare I think. I don’t see it very often but it means that we’re missing a huge opportunity, a huge opportunity to learn. Because when we admit that we are wrong is when we can really look at something transparently and look at what led into those decisions and what we could have done differently, what we could have done better. But if we close ourselves to that, if we refuse to admit that we are wrong and that I’m right no matter what happens, we’re going to miss all that learning and we’re doomed to make similar mistakes at a later date.
So when was the last time that you acknowledge that you’re wrong about something and how did that help you in your business?