Why Leaders Must Be Willing To Be Wrong

There’s a lot on the mind of today’s global executive leader.

Investing for growth. Opening new markets. Innovating. Growing top-line revenue and bottom-line profitability. Staying current with emerging trends, and keeping ahead of the competition. Keeping the right people focused on the biggest priorities.

Today’s ‘To Do’ List for global executives has never been longer or more subject to outside influences. After all, there’s only so much each of us can control.

Yet one of things that we can take full accountability for is keeping an open mind.
Whether it’s in digesting loads of data and making key decisions, or going with your gut when it comes to sizing up a new hire or the merit of promoting an accomplished but also somewhat untested leader, the real challenge for today’s executive leader is to be open to possibilities while also being cognisant of risks.

With all the scrutiny associated with the biggest of business decisions comes all the pressure to make the right decision. Yet, all that makes us human makes even the most experienced executive leaders susceptible to putting too much stock on one variable and not enough on another. So long as we remain human and connected to our own sense of self, we remain subject to human error and bad judgment.

Yet, while the best of global leaders tend to follow the same regimen of due diligence ahead of such strategic decisions, they also remain open to the possibility that theirs may be the wrong choice and that others around them may have, in fact, revealed a better path forward for the enterprise.

As leaders, we must be just as willing to accept when we’ve made the wrong decision as when we’ve made precisely the best decision for our organisations, culture, customers, employees and investors.

The very best of global executive leaders knows they must keep their minds open at all times to the very real possibility that the strategy they are pursuing, the priorities they’ve set and the people they’ve hired may in fact be the wrong ones. In such cases, these individuals accept the truth, admit their mistake, and in so doing, enlist the support of those who may not wish to have each of their business decisions second-guessed to such degree.

The good news here, of course, is that if we are wrong, someone else may be right. Elevating dialogue and keeping it inclusive is often the best way to surface a new way forward and trip one’s way from mistake to success. This is the innovator’s way, after all. To trip and fall, rise and keep failing and eliminating the bad choices until the best one emerges.

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Copyright © TRANSEARCH International 2013


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