Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wrong decisions are they just mistakes, or something more?

Photo courtesy of  Stuart Miles,

 I recently read a blog in which the writer was exploring the topic of the wrong decisions we can make, but how we need to make them; otherwise we’d be stuck and too scared to take a risk.

It started me thinking.  In her blog she was more talking about the decision to take a job or not; to start a business or not, and she saw them as mistakes when you make the wrong choice.

Somehow a mistake implies something much smaller than a wrong decision.  A mistake is choosing to attend an event that didn’t meet your needs.  A mistake is forgetting to order supplies when you are running low.  A mistake is posting a blog before proof-reading it.  A wrong decision, on the other hand, in my opinion, has much deeper repercussions.

Like everyone I’ve made my share of mistakes but I prefer to think of them as lessons I needed to learn, albeit the hard way.  The key is to learn the lesson, reflect and not repeat it.  Trust me, there’s always fresh opportunities for you to make mistakes.

But when I reflect back on the wrong decisions I’ve made – they have been more major, and all revolve around people.  Such as partnering up with the wrong person and discovering after the “honeymoon” period is over that it is a total mismatch and that we don’t share the same values or goals after all.   Or hiring someone who creates chaos within the team, and having to let them go.

Yes, it has been my judgment around people that has led to wrong decisions – (and I used to be in HR.)  The trouble with these wrong decisions is that they are tougher to resolve, to terminate or remedy.  In fact, rarely is there a remedy if it is the wrong fit.  People rarely change their stripes.

But like mistakes, there is always the opportunity to learn and grow from the experience.  For example, over ten years ago I partnered up with someone to run my first business conference.  While the conference was a success, the behind-the-scenes shenanigans made it impossible for us to work together ever again after the conference was over.  

Yet, he did me a favour, as putting on the conference made me realize I didn’t need a partner to make a conference happen.  In fact I would do better on my own, without all the game-playing, ego trips and temper tantrums which were tiresome to say the least.

So sometimes we can make wrong decisions and reach the right outcome. 

What about you?  Have you ever made wrong decisions and then down the road, realized it turned out for the best after all?

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