wrong to win

“Wrong to win” is a great philosophy that I had picked up during the course of my advertising career. “Wrong to win” is when it is not right to be right. In another words, wrong to be right.

Sounds crazy, I know. It is against our educated mindset where it is good to be right. We all want to be right. Being right rewards you with marks in school. When you are right, you win. When you are wrong, you lose.  We learn that in school and in our business.  

I remember during my advertising days (in fact, it is relevant for everything around us, from the social gathering, to organization meetings, to brainstorming sessions, to many more), where all the agency guys sat together.  Some of them were the most intelligent people I have ever met, from clients to account management guys, planners to creatives and consultants. Whenever an idea is being presented, we debate every single dot and comma of every single ad and strategy that were presented. The nuances, the details, are argued to death. As much thought and debate goes into the ad and strategy as any university thesis, eventually, the person who is best at arguing wins.

Winning the argument does not make your idea, your ad, your strategy the winning one that will deliver the results.  Have you wonder how did those lousy ads that you have seen on TVs and newspapers goes out to the street? Do you think the people behind these creations were stupid? They all probably have a degree or even a PHD. but most of the ads and strategies and ideas that were created in the same process. The best guy who is best at arguing wins the debate, and got their ideas, ads, strategies shortlisted. But as it gets rolled out, it delivers results that you wish you had no parts to play in that piece of work.

A lot of people confused winning an argument with being right. In the real world, the results will show you that you are wrong. If you really care about being right instead of winning arguments, that mindset will steer you towards achieving more winning grounds.

Winning an argument doesn’t make you right.