Sometimes we think our opinion is worth more than it really is. It may be because of passion, ego/stubbornness, or perhaps ignorance. But we need to keep it in check. Too often, we (that is the collective we—you and me both!) always think we are right. But lo and behold, we are not! And we need to come to that understanding. No matter how brilliant we think we are, we need to put it in check—because we are not always the brightest one in the room!
To overcome this issue, I try to follow a single approach. Take note—I am far from perfect and often disregard my own advice and submit to those elements of ego/stubbornness, passion, or even ignorance. Examples are listed below. (I figured I should probably site some personal examples to make it easier for you to possibly identify!)
Passion: There have been several occasions where I let my passion for a project, client, or sponsorship overtake reason and logic. There was a project I loved and was very excited about. I took it on, but did not do my due diligence. I did not follow our checklist of criteria for making sure it was a project that we could deliver on, but more importantly, where they would deliver on their part of the commitment. He was a great salesperson, and I bought the opportunity hook, line, and sinker. And we sank! He did not have the assets he boasted about. He and his team were not available for us to access as they promised. The compensation model was in their favour, not ours, and was not equitable. But I got lost in the passion of the project and my decision to undertake it was dreadfully wrong.
Ego/Stubbornness: When I was selling sponsorships for the Calgary Flames broadcasts back in the 1990s, I lost a deal because I let my ego get in the way. I truly disliked the person on the other side of the table. To be more truthful, I resented him. I knew him from high school—never liked him then and still didn’t at the time of the deal negotiation. As a result of my ego, I would not move on price or other elements. I felt I was right, and we should not discount further. I stuck by my guns because my ego got in the way. I was not right. Both my opinion and I were wrong. I should have budged. (I would have for another prospect!) He spent those dollars (and more) with another radio station and the Flames themselves. He and his business were successful. My employer and I lost out because I thought I was right based solely on my ego getting in the way.
Ignorance: This is an easy one. There are so many …lol! Probably the greatest is my ignorance of colonialism and its affect on our First Nations people. I believed what I was taught in school and stuck by it because that was the only story I knew. I believed that “we” did nothing wrong and I stood by that belief. I was ignorant of the truth. And it was only when the truth was shared that I could overcome my ignorance.
So, what do I do to overcome these issues, not get trapped into thinking my opinion is right, and not push ahead based on me being “right?” It’s simple. I get the opinions of others. I ask for advice. I get counsel. I weigh and balance the opinions of others, both from my own team, and from outside counsel and advisors. Recently, one outside advisor spoke to me as I presented a plan for some new products we are looking to launch and that I was VERY excited about. He said, “Can gain your investment back in three years?” and “What will be the ongoing profit margin?” and “Who will mange it when I decide to retire in ten years or so?” None of these questions were rocket science. I already knew I had to address them, but I had not done so as yet. Sometimes passion, ignorance, or ego steps in, takes over, and tells me my opinion (and no one else’s) is right!
So, in simple terms, I ask the opinions of people I trust, and get honest answers and insights. Then I can then make the right decisions because I trust their input and insights. That’s how I keep the “My opinion is right” syndrome in check. How about you?
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