In technology, business, and life, there are usually many right answers. Most answers, right or wrong, have trade-offs, making each answer less clear that it may first appear.
This gets more complicated when you learn that getting stuck on a single answer often leads to mental blindness of other possibilities.
When discussing software development projects, we often find ourselves in a discussion of the three possible options: Fast, Right, Cheap. While clients want all three, they can really only pick two. Picking a third will negate at least one of the others.
Similarly, the options for a college experience are typically these three: Grades, Friends, Sleep. Again, pick two.
While you typically cannot have all three choices, you can realistically have two and still be successful.
So which choices are the right answers? There is no single right answer, only choices that are likely to be the best fit for each individual. And even the best choice combination may change over time.
Understanding there is rarely a single right answer in life and business is important for effective communication. Too many people get stuck and fight for their one right answer, denying that there are other right answers.
Even more importantly, think about what a “right” answer or choice is to you and others. Is it the correct answer (does such exist for EVERY question)? Is it the best answer, and if so, how do you know what “best” is each time? Is it the answer that proves someone else wrong? Or is the “right” answer the one that you think someone else wants to hear, regardless of you opinion of the answer?
There are few singular right answers in business, technology, or life. Those that fixate on a single answer per problem are self-limiting their view of the situation. In turn, they limit their options, their growth, and their success.
Glenn S. Phillips is the author of the book Nerd-to-English: Your Everyday Guide to Translating Your Business, Your Messages, and Yourself. You can email Glenn directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glenn is also the president of Forte’ Incorporated, a consulting firm that works with business leaders to understand and address the often hidden technology and business risks lurking within their organizations.
© Copyright 2013. Glenn S. Phillips, Forte’ Incorporated. (205) 985-1111