Making the right decision. We are under pressure to always perform, to be accepted, to deliver results. The right decision is often viewed as the one that helps us achieve our goals. Too often, this view is taken with no consideration of collateral damage.
We continue our series of conversations on ethical decision-making with a focus on an often used term – the gray area. The term comes from the idea that if a good decision is white, or pure, and a bad decision is black, or dark or wrong, then there is a blending of the two when it is not very clear whether it is good or bad, right or wrong.
Understanding the nature of the gray area helps us by encouraging us to not accept less than the best answer.
Gray Area Defined
The definition proposed here to feed into our decision-making framework is that the Gray Area is a self-serving rationalization to justify dishonesty or crossing over into an area of some degree of deception.
Sounds harsh, even as I re-read the above definition. It begs the question of whether or not there are decisions that are neutral. I am not sure, but perhaps there are decisions that are neither good or bad, they just are. Perhaps there is not an ethically challenging situation in every decision we make. So to continue the definition using a color reference – neutral is not gray. It is clear.
Our approach should be to pursue the best decision possible within the framework of supporting a right or good ethical position. The idea that there is actually a best decision to pursue gives us hope that there is something bigger than our selves.
How often do you find yourself in a position of being in the gray area? How can you operate outside the gray area?