Greener Grass or Not?

The Roman poet, Ovid, wrote: “…the harvest is always more fruitful in another man’s field.”

The proverb the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence is often shortened to simply: the grass is always greener.

So how often do we envy what others are doing? Do we always think things, jobs, status, etc. are better for others than ourselves? 

Probably not all the time but most of us must admit that the little green monster comes out occasionally.

In the business world, when leaders perceive that their competitors are doing better than they are, they feel the need to react quickly. 

In some cases, this is true but more often than not, it is better to take some time to assess the situation and create a comprehensive plan.

Alternatively, one could overthink the situation by doing too much analysis and thus miss an opportunity.

It is a balancing act which leaders are faced with every day. 

When it is a decision that several leaders are involved in, it makes it very challenging because some are quicker to take action while others need a lot more data.

Each of these individuals may also have their own agenda so that is a factor in their decision-making process.

An example would be if there are limited resources so one department may get less than an other even though they are after the same objective of beating out the competition.

One way to work through this is healthy debating.

To make this work though there should be a few parameters that everyone must follow.

The obvious one is… what is the goal?

Some may actually perceive this differently than others so it needs to not only be stated verbally but also written out.

Another thing to consider is who is debating.

If there is a more senior leader, then some may feel awkward stating their opinion and going against this person. It may be better for this senior leader to not be in the room first and then come in after some discussion has occurred.

The last thing anyone wants is groupthink where people just agree because the others in the group do.

To make this work even better, delegate someone to be a deviant; also known as a devil’s advocate.

This person’s purpose is to strategically question what others are saying. This opens the door to several options hopefully that can be pursued.

Lastly and most importantly, respect everyone’s ideas. 

Watch your non-verbal communications to start. Such things as eye rolls and nodding in the negative, even if positive things are being stated, shows disrespect.

Some ideas may be outlandish but if you think about the television show, The Jetsons, that aired in 1962 and 1963, they showed a version of Zoom, robots doing chores, etc.

Whoever thought they would actually occur?

In reality the grass sometimes is greener on the other side but everyone needs to realize that your neighbor/competitor/whomever is also looking over the fence at you and they may feel that your lawn looks better than theirs.