There are times in our lives – both at work and at home – when our actions may have been justified, but an alternative approach may have been a far better choice.
When I was growing up in New York City, we would occasionally venture from our apartment in The Bronx into Manhattan. I remember one time as a child crossing a busy street in Midtown and having an interesting discussion with my mother.
The light had turned green and I started crossing the street. At the same time, a taxi came barrelling around the corner and appeared as if it wasn’t going to stop. This is not an uncommon occurrence, as New York City taxi drivers don’t usually believe that motor vehicle laws apply to them.
With a quick grab, my mother yanked me out of the street to get me out of the way of the oncoming taxi. “But pedestrians have the right of way, don’t they?” I asked my mother. “Yes,” she replied. “Then I was right and the taxi was wrong!” I protested. “Absolutely,” my mother answered. “And if the taxi runs you over you’ll still be right, but you’ll be ‘dead right’.”
In other words, even though I was abiding by the rules and procedures governing pedestrian traffic, I still could suffer the consequences of an unfortunate decision.
Think about recent interactions with your customers. Do they fit this general profile? Are there times when you follow the procedures, but you feel as if the customer has not been served properly?
Think about situations in your personal life. Are there times when you stand on principle – when “right” is on your side? Even when backing down and taking another approach would yield better results?
It’s feels great to be right, but it’s almost always better to reach an outcome where the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term gain.
About the Author
Ron Rosenberg teaches people how to get the service they deserve and shows companies how to provide it.