How many times can you afford to be wrong at work?
In life, we are probably wrong everyday. We make wrong decisions, make a wrong bet, or say the wrong things to people. However, life keeps going and we move on pretty quickly, learning something new as we go. In love, we are often wrong as well…at least 50% of the time (and a higher percentage for men). We choose the wrong partners and again say the wrong things.
Nevertheless, being wrong in our personal lives is usually nothing a bouquet of flowers can’t fix or a sincere apology will not cure. But how many times can you be wrong at work before you are packing up your office? Your boss is not your partner and does not really want to hear your, “Sorry, babe.”
It becomes difficult to manage when, where and how you bring up a new idea to the company with the fear that you might be wrong. So what becomes the ultimate wrong choice here? Do you keep that gem of an idea to yourself, waiting for the right moment that may never come, or do you offer them up as they arrive?
Think it through before you go around pitching it to executives. This seems to go without saying. Not having done your research makes you look foolish to the people that control your paycheck and promotions. Does your company need what you are suggesting? Is the company’s competition already doing it and can you effectively do it better? These are the questions you should be asking yourself before you look naive. But don’t be deterred, either.
Two heads are better than one
So you have this great idea, but you are dying to tell someone. Letting someone in on your idea gives it a chance to become even better. Collaborating with a coworker is the ‘team player’ way to play it.
You should know how to at least kick it off, or be very clear the resources that it will take to complete the thought. Being the big picture person is only going to get you so far because almost everyone has heard the same gut wrenching words, “That’s a great idea, Jordan. Why don’t you be the front person for that?” You’d better be ready to take on any initiative you propose. Expect it.
“You messed up”
Every one knows it only takes one, “You messed up” to wipe away a month’s worth of, “Great work.” How many chances do we get to be wrong?
There is no definite number that will force you to start your Google search of jobs. Even in Silicon Valley, few get abruptly fired without warning. So until you hear the words, “I am giving you one more chance,” you can think of every new day as a clean slate to propose and dare to be wrong.