I’m beginning to notice a very disturbing trend and I bet you are as well – Nobody is ever wrong anymore and admitting to any failure at all has become forbidden. It’s almost like these people have forgotten (or have never learned) about how powerful the admission of wrongness can be. Mea culpas are fantastic, they clear out the inner insecurities and demonstrate both emotional and intellectual growth. They also show courage and honesty.
I have a book coming out in which I admit to a vast array of things I’ve been wrong about (luckily there was an editor), my friend James Altucher has dedicated his entire blog to rusticating guilt and shame about his own screw-ups over the years.
But for some reason, I feel like everyone else is going in the other direction. It’s kind of bizarre.
Much of my loss of faith in our management methodologies has come from the fact that the crash of 2008 was evident to a few (yours truly on the list) but generally unseen and mismanaged by the rest of the system. That in itself wasn’t an unpardonable sin – but people simply marched ahead as if their analytical techniques – be it accounting, competitive intelligence, or foresight – were perfect all along, and that nothing needed to be changed. The people who were wrong about the whole thing not only didn’t admit to being wrong, they went right back into the media with their same old message.
If we’re going to have a minor hope of understanding the changes around us, it needs to be OK to try something and be wrong, and not to have it be the end of one’s career. The culture is stacked against us in many ways.