What is there to gain from a zero-sum game? | Fundamental #4

Give up the need to be right.
So simple. So powerful. So difficult!

All our life, we learn to make decisions and conclusions, then defend them. Once we determine we are right, we cling to that “rightness”, often despite evidence we may be wrong. Our egos get in the way of changing our minds. 
And therein lies the problem with being right; it’s way too easy to stop listeningto conflicting evidence or points of view, as we know they must be wrong. Right? 

The inherent assumption we work with is that if I am right, you are wrong. A zero-sum game.

But few issues in life are truly zero-sum games. As a new executive learning to negotiate partnership and licensing contracts, I was lucky to have a very wise senior attorney at the company as my mentor, who stressed that “…if the agreement does not benefit all parties, throw it away and start over – growing a business is not a zero-sum game.” Additionally, if we viewed leadership as a zero-sum game – that leaders are right, and others are wrong – it is doubtful the leader’s team or the business would benefit.

The same is true of personal relationships; a friendship, romance or work alliance cannot thrive if viewed as a zero-sum equation. On a larger scale, politics are certainly complicated by most entities’ conviction that they are right. Mohammad Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran noted that “…if you look at the developments in the international scene over the past many years, we haven’t been able to resolve many problems and many crises, because we have approached them from a zero-sum perspective. My gain has always been defined as somebody else’s loss, and through that, we never resolve problems.”

Giving up the need to be right is a life-long challenge which requires deliberate openness, education, and listening. 

It’s not easy but it can be a powerful growth skill. 
We have worked with multiple individuals and teams for which the need to be right is the root cause of many issues. Unpacking those issues can be a difficult process for many people, but we have no examples of anyone who has notbenefited from it.

Let’s get started on accelerating your growth and your business – let me know when we can talk!

Kind regards,
Fundamental # 4 | Give up the Need to Be Right
Keep your ego, your personal agenda, and your judgments out of the way of doing what’s best for the team or the customer. Don’t let being right interfere with being able to hear others and see possible new solutions you haven’t seen before.

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