Right and Wrong

This article was originally published on the FCR blog on June 15, 2018. Click here to read the original.

The difference between right and wrong can be a tricky thing. No I’m not talking about thou shalt not steal or thou shalt not murder or those sorts of things. I’m pretty well set in that department.

Here’s where I struggle. I’m a musician and was recently practicing with a band and we came to a place in the song where I was playing a different chord than everyone else. We stopped the song and had a “discussion” because something didn’t sound right — obviously. Here’s roughly how the discussion went:

Me: This song would sound a whole lot better if we played a D chord there.
Leader: Jeremy, that may be true but let’s all just play the G chord that’s written. That’s what the rest of the band played.
Me: But I listened to a recording of this song and that’s how they played it.
Leader: Fine, but we’re going to play it as it’s written on the music. Mmmmmk?
Me: OK fine.

But at least initially it wasn’t fine. I was pretty sure I was right and didn’t like being told otherwise. The problem is that the leader was sure he was right.

Can’t we both be right? Well technically yes but it’s the leader who sets the direction for the group and makes sure we all travel in that direction. That’s the fun of being in a leadership role, and while great leaders may do an incredible job at collaborating with their teams and incorporating feedback for the group, the leader is the one who’s ultimately accountable for the success of the group.

Also consider that if we’re both right and I play my chord while he plays his, the song is going to sound worse than it would if we played a G or a D chord together. In a musical ensemble, together always sounds better.

Our other option is to break up the band and pursue our solo careers. Then we’re free to play our music any way we darn well please, assuming we’re good with the acoustic, singer, songwriter, coffee shop feel. We lose the power though of a finely tuned ensemble working together to create something truly great.

This same sort of right and wrong rings true in organizations where we’re filled to the brim with highly qualified professionals. Take our contact centers for example. The experience with recruiting, hiring, people management, training, quality, workforce management, reporting, etc is absolutely staggering. We have more expertise in these areas than we know what to do with — and that’s incredible!

What makes us a great organization that consistently delivers a great customer experience, however is our ability to work together and follow the standards set by leadership. Sure we’ll likely be able to influence what those standards are to an extent, but we still need to all move in the same direction, whether we like it or not. That’s the sort of right and wrong I’m talking about and I’m realizing that sometimes for my own success and for the success of the organization, I need to be wrong — no matter how right I might be.

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