I almost called this “when someone that’s in the right” as I thought about what the Texas Rangers <not the baseball team> could teach us about business.
“No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that’s in the right and keeps on a’comin’.” – Captain Bill McDonald Texas Ranger in the 1800’s
Some initial thoughts for business people:
- More people should keep coming when they are in the right … and not give in.
- More people should keep coming when they are in the right.
- Being in the right, and being sure you are right, is difficult … in fact it may be easier to know what is wrong.
- Right is often just a belief, not facts or statistics, and sometimes that is all you have.
Regardless of what I write from here on out … it will all be balanced by this fact.
Being in the right is about making choices.
It is not about being smarter … or knowing more than some else … or more sure … or a litany of other semi-arrogant aspects.
Sure. Of course you have to believe yourself, and in yourself … particularly when other people tell you your right is … well … wrong … but the foundation of ‘being in the right’ is, and will always be, you knowing in your heart <stomach, soul> what makes you … well … you . Your gestalt … what makes you the way you are in business <which I hope is an extension of your everyday life but this is about business>.
But … it is about making a choice.
When you believe you are in the right … it is in those times you have a choice to make. You can choose to believe what ‘they’ say or you can choose to disagree and stick to your guns.
But, remember, you always have a choice.
- Being right and keep on coming.
I happen to agree with Captain McDonald. No business person in the wrong can stand up against someone in the right … who doesn’t quit. I know that sounds naïve in today’s’ world of consensus and compromise and conservative decision making … but I truly believe this.
But it is hard. Really really difficult. Wrong wins a lot in business these days. Wrong is relentless, and sneaky and smart.
And that is why, similar to the size of the Texas Rangers, this is a relatively small band of people who are willing to go out into the business desert, all by themselves, just with their guns to fight the enemy. It takes a special person. It takes a resilient person. And it takes more than a couple holsters of character. I imagine I believe there are more of them out there than those who actually signed up … it is just that they are not encouraged to sign up <because today’s business environment doesn’t often seem to encourage the right to keep on a’comin’>.
All I really care about is that business today needs people who won’t even think of giving up. The benefits of those who are in the right and keep coming are evident so I won’t list them. However … I do recognize that this type of character and personality <to keep ‘a comin’> can pose some problems. In a work environment/organization the potential problems are rampant.
Ok. Here is where being the right people separate themselves into ‘non problem versus ‘problem’ employees. First, of course, this person gets intrinsic points in business for their high degree of certainty about what they believe <the more strongly you know you’re right … the more certain it is you are right in others eyes>.
However … being sure you’re right and being right are two different things.
And confusing these two is bad.
What I mean by this is that intensity of belief isn’t the same thing as Truth. In fact, intensity of belief doesn’t end up implying anything but exactly that … a belief. Yup. If you believe something strongly, all it means is that you believe that something strongly … not that it is true. Nor can you assume that intensity of belief intrinsically translates into that others will believe it strongly too.
The error of thinking that intensity of belief means anything at all outside of itself isn’t something we should be encouraging. This error causes major cracks in teamwork and organizational efficiency.
All that matters is the intensity of the truth, i.e., what is the right thing to do <the action>.
Anyway … being in the right takes a strong person … think about this example of one of those in the right keep who kept ‘a comin’ and assumed the risk.
Southwest Airlines co-founder Herb Kelleher was willing to risk his career for four years (and his own money) while he fought in the courtrooms to get Southwest Airlines on the ground. Though airlines and Dallas based airlines fought Southwest in the courtrooms Kelleher was willing to risk everything to “fight the good fight.” Why? Because he believed so strongly in the vision, what he felt was right, that nothing else mattered.
‘Nothing else mattered.’
Hey. This topic ain’t easy.
And with all that I just said … let’s go to …
- Sometimes compromising is the worst thing you can do.
Notice I began with ‘sometimes’ but let me begin with ‘the worst thing you can do.’
Yeah. I just finished writing about the dangers of sticking to your guns … but now I will shift to compromising.
Compromise is always a dangerous game. Especially if you are compromising ‘in the right’ and ‘in the wrong’ things. there is no balamce in that equation. In the world of weights & measures something odd actually happens to ‘right’ … wrong things actually weigh more, have significantly more mass … so if you try and compromise and balance the ‘right’ side of the scale is always lower <that is bad>. And, yet, despite the weight & the mass … when you actually do the right thing is has a larger impact.
Yup. I guarantee it.
Being the right is weightless but a heavy burden to carry. Being in the right has no significant size yet makes a large imprint. Being in the right is a funny thing that way.
It is easily destroyed by compromise because of its smallness in its ego and image.
Well. I will go back to the Texas Rangers to help me out on this one … with minimal support and no communication from higher authority, they lived and often died by the motto, ‘Order first, then law will follow.”
They had no compromise in their actions. Keep order based on what is right. The law will follow the right actions.
Which leads me to ‘defining the law’ of what is right.
- Being sure what is right.
Oddly I will begin the topic of being sure you are in the right with … well … adaptability … and not uncompromising consistency.
I find the people most often really, and truly, in the right are the people who are constantly revising their knowledge and understanding of situations … and reconsidering a problem they ,and everyone else> thought had already been solved. They seem to always be open to new points of view and new information and new ideas and accepting seeming contradictions … they are always challenging their own way of thinking.
This doesn’t mean these people do not have a well formed point of view.
But I do tend to find that they sometimes consider their point of view as temporary.
The corollary? The people who are most often ‘in the wrong’ are obsessed with data/knowledge that only supports one point of view.
This adaptability typically translates into an ability to determine what just doesn’t matter.
Because they realize that is where “right’ can be waylaid most often.
Most time is spent wasting time on things that just don’t matter. If you can cut out the work and thinking that just doesn’t matter … being in the right means being focused on what really matters …. And in business that typically translates into a level of peak productivity.
In the end … being in the right depends on each situation and needs some adaptability to stay the course. Sure. There is overriding ‘law’ … but order is defined by the situation <and sometimes solely defined by ‘the wrong’>. Yup. In fact sometimes the “Law” is most easily identified by knowing what is wrong … and putting wrong to order <and Law will follow>. Those in the right seem most often to attack wrong rather than make it right.
And that leads me to the last topic on this … the one that makes the Texas Rangers in business so special.
- Being ‘in the right’ sometimes intangible.
Now. Let’s be clear.
Feeling right about something doesn’t make it … well … right. But sometimes that is as close as “right” becomes.
And that is tough in today’s business environment where people want ‘proof’ as a way to absolve themselves of responsibility <that is the cynical aspect> or need some comfort in statistics/data in order to quantify their decision <this recognizes a pragmatic aspect>.
Order can be kept in a variety of ways and stay within the law. The adaptability of actions, in a world where everyone wants best practices or ‘solid every day process’, is a talent beset with challenges within the office. It is an intangible belief, and understanding, in what to do … which makes it sometimes very difficult to explain.
And I ended on this thought because it circles back to the original quote … ‘keep a’ comin’. Being in the right means you have no quit, not an ounce of it, in you. if you are in the right you just gotta keep on keepin’ on.
More businesses need people like this.
Those who are good at being right about the right things to do … and the character to stick it out and keep coming.
My last thought for business people.
“The rangers are what they are because their enemies have been what they were. The rangers had t be superior to survive. Their enemies were pretty good … so they had to be better.” - walter webb
I refuse to quote ‘good to great’ but I will say two things …
- Good enough is the enemy of great good
- Those who are ‘in the right’ are typically really really good because their enemies, those in the wrong, are pretty good at doing what they do best <be in the wrong>.