Successful People Skills: See Opportunity in Gray Zone

There are many articles and quotes on what successful people do differently from other people. Answers range from they develop good habits to they do things that others won’t. To this list, I add:

Successful people see opportunity in the gray zone and convert it to black and white results.

See Opportunity in Grey Image Via:FreeFoto

Successful People:

  1. See new opportunity in the gray zone of uncertainty, chaos, unmet needs, disappointment, and doubt.
  2. Ask great questions to turn gray confusion into clarity.
  3. Move toward results.
  4. Avoid binary (black and white) thinking along the way. They think in shades of color and varying perspectives. They don’t think win/lose — they think win.

To do this, successful people spot fatal binary thinking before it takes hold and convert it to a win for themselves and others. How good are you at it or do you often see each situation as either/or.

Consider these successes: Teammates with different views who avoid either/or positions find other, possibly more valuable, solutions. Innovators turn traditional wisdom upside down and view problems from different angles. Customer service reps dealing with angry customers shine when they can see ways to meet the customers’ needs and companies’ needs at the same time. Leaders who explore the perspectives of their team members, without worrying it will lead to chaos, often discover better approaches.

Binary thinking makes many people feel safe, secure, and in control. Yet a short trip to the gray zone of ideas provides you with far more security because a better — previously unforeseen — solution may emerge. Then convert it to black/white results.

What successes have you had from exploring the gray zone and converting ideas to black/white results?

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, delivers workshops, consulting, and coaching for success in teamwork and customer relations. Even after 20 years, Kate continues to learn and explore new paths for professional success. See more info at

3 Responses to “Successful People Skills: See Opportunity in Gray Zone”

  1. Amol says:

    How very true… Very good article..

  2. Jane Perdue says:

    Kate –

    You and I must be drinking from the same ambiguity cup these days. Three times in the last month, I’ve either given a speech or taught a session about paradox – learning to move beyond either/or thinking to embracing both/and.
    I’ve been a ‘shade of gray’ gal my whole life…still not believing in black/white results. By that I mean driving for outcomes yet leaving room for those outcomes to be re-evaluated as/if necessary. In my view moving beyond labels and absolutes is an important ability for success in life and business.
    Glad to hear you’re taking the topic/challenge on!

    With a smile,


    • Kate Nasser says:

      Well said Jane — move beyond the absolutes and labels to find real solutions that can adapt to changing conditions.

      Always thrilled to see your perspective and grateful you share your insights here.
      Best wishes,

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