It is okay to get it wrong sometimes

What you need to know:

  • The best groups also have conflict. If a group has no conflict, that is an issue

Great brands ostracise. You cannot be everything for everyone. If you try to do that, you end up as a mediocre brand. Great brands have some people they make insanely happy, and these people will vouch for them. Then, they also have people they will insanely put off. 

Great brands have strong opinions. But you know, you must work hard in order to hold a strong opinion. Often, experience will enable you to hold a strong opinion. Reading a lot, especially reading conflicting things on the same topic also enables you to hold strong opinions. 

I hold a strong opinion on culture for example. I say, if you are going to unlock something in a group of more than 3 people, you must unlock the cultural element. Because groups exist by forming a culture. 

And that’s why groups also tend to produce mediocre ideas. Why? Because for a group to function, everyone must tone down their extremes. How many times have you been on a group project and simply accepted what you think is a ‘dumb’ idea just for the sake of keeping the peace and sanity in the group? Happens a lot. But in the long term that will cause issues. There is something called ‘death by committees.’ If you want to kill something, form a committee for it. 

But there is also a way to build great groups. Often, when I am in a group, I prefer to speak last. To listen to everyone (reveal my own blind spots), from other people, you get information you could have missed out. Sometimes you are all talking about the same thing but with different words and examples. 

The best groups also have conflict. If a group has no conflict, that is an issue. There is functional conflict, and there is dysfunctional conflict. And functional conflict in the sense that we may disagree on something such as having social media buttons on the website articles.

I initially told the web designer to put the buttons. Then, I rethought this idea. And I realised quite often we just keep doing something because it has become industry standard. And that simple decision will have different outcomes in the long term. You should be conflicting on an idea level not on a personal level. 

But it is also good to acknowledge when your idea was wrong. Sometimes I will intentionally disagree with my initial opinion in a group just to build that culture. That look, it is okay to admit you are wrong. It is okay to come back and tell your friend that they were right.

Ian Ortega is the founder 
of Ortega Group