Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.

– Steve Jobs


You don t always have to do the right thing.

As humans, we instinctively know what s wrong. We can see a picture on the wall and know instantly that it’s not level, find a misspelling in a sea of words, and recognize a strategic business move that’s going to burst into flames. These mistakes stick out like a flashing neon sign.

Although we may not have a clue what the right thing to do is, we do know pretty quickly when it’s wrong.

Therefore, as long as we don’t pick the wrong thing, we’d at least be taking a step in the right direction.

Don’t Do The Wrong Thing

While most complex problems can have simple solutions, often those solutions aren’t a one-and-done thing. Unlike a patch in software, sometimes solutions are multi-layered and have many parts.

When I’m faced with complex problems, I brainstorm and lay out all the possible solutions. From simple to multiple-layer solutions, I chart the path of each one so I can test them. What I’m looking for are the solutions that feel wrong. From short-cutting, reducing quality, or short-term thinking, I can see a wrong move a mile away. I don’t need to know what the overall right move is, I just need to trust my instincts and choose what doesn’t feel wrong.

I know that if I choose wisely for each layer of the solution, I’ll eventually end up doing the right thing. Let’s call this the Eventually-Right Process.

The Eventually-Right Leader

This process can be used in everyday business management strategy. The beautiful thing is, it always works. By not doing what s wrong, you can t really go wrong.

As business leaders, we are always under constant pressure to come up with the right solutions. Whether time-sensitive or not, using the Eventually-Right Process gives you the piece of mind that you are on the right path and, ultimately, you will come to the right solution.

For example, I need to hire someone new. I have three candidates: A, B and C. I could just go ahead and hire Candidate A and hope for the best. Or I could use the Eventually-Right Process. It might go like this:

  • Something about Candidate C feels ‘off’, so if I eliminate C.
  • I schedule a second round of interviews with Candidate A and B. Maybe I interview them at the same time to provoke new responses. Either way, I get another chance to find whether Candidate A or B feel wrong.
  • Candidate B does, so I hire A.

Eventually, by eliminating each path that felt wrong, I arrived at the right solution.

Choosing the Not-Wrong Path

I dare you to try the Eventually-Right Process in your next decision, business or otherwise. It may feel deceptively simple not to mention, a little uncertain , however as you see the ROI from you decision-making roll in, I think you’ll understand the value. You’ll begin to feel better about the decisions and make them easier. Good decisions can greatly improve the quality of work and life.

Just remember: the art of doing the right thing is not choosing what’s wrong even if you don t know what s right yet.

You will eventually.