Successive Approximations

Never pass up a chance to admit being wrong

Never pass up a chance to admit being wrong

I spent the better part of an hour today in a Slack discussion with coworkers about how to implement a feature ticket. We went back and forth, and fundamentally saw the issue two different ways. I didn't really see any way we could reconcile the two views. Either one of us or the other would have to just accept the opposite perspective to move forward.

We kept drilling down into examples and use cases, and each of us found more reasons to justify our position.

Eventually someone asked a question in the opposite direction. Instead of looking at more and more minute details, he looked at the big picture. He roped in an outsider to provide their perspective, which totally shifted the discussion.

In particular, what the outsider said knocked out one of the premises of my position. Of course, it was tempting to stick to my guns and dig in deeper and refuse to change my mind. But as that flashed across my mind, I knew immediately that would be letting ego win.

Instead, I said clearly and explicitly that the discussion resolved and we would go with the other guy's solution.

It was an opportunity, a deposit for the future. A chance to show that when I was in the wrong I would admit it and move forward without a grudge. Hopefully that builds the idea in my coworkers that when I don't give in, I really have a point. I'm not just digging in because I can't admit I'm wrong.

I saw the moment for what it was, an opportunity to admit being wrong, and took it.

Ben Berry

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