Are lobsters yellow? If you answered no, you would be right one in 29,999,999 times, but, as this photo shows, they do appear once in about every 30 million births. And lobsters are blue, orange and split colors as well as the traditional orange, so if you insisted that these tasty crustaceans only come in one color, you would be wrong.

It makes sense that after years of seeing something only one way you would be convinced with some certainty that you are correct in your understanding. Where people get in trouble is that too often they insist that their experience is the only correct answer and that it applies to the breadth of the topic, not just a narrow interpretation.

I am reminded of this meme that was shared on Twitter:

The copy below the drawing claims that there is a “right” answer, but from the narrow context of what we see, there is not. Is it a six or a nine? Yes. But if you backed up or saw a larger context, one answer is likely to be wrong.

Right is a narrow construct. You can be right if the question is tightly defined. The broader your parameters are, the less likely there is a certainty. You are right that most lobsters are orange. But if you expand to consider more of them, a variety appears.

We’d all be better off you make claims of fact with caution and qualifiers that define the limits of your knowledge and experience, and if you were open to nuances that change your answer.

Thanks Meg!

 

 

 

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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