Grey: the new black or white in business

Binary thinking not always best for decisions

As a leader do you sometimes struggle to make a straight yes or no decision? That’s not always a bad thing.

Gottfried Leibniz

In our computerised world, the binary numeral system rules. This is where numeric values use two different symbols, usually zero and one. Gottfried Leibniz’s 17th century discovery is used internally by almost all modern computers and computer-based devices because of its straightforward implementation in electronic circuitry using logic gates.

Binary code has really helped make the world a better, more convenient place. It is used in so many gadgets and aspects of our lives.

Sometimes as managers and leaders we want to always appear logical, with the efficiency and speed of a computer.

The words “yes” and “no” are a form of binary code in the human sense. Your decisions usually end up with one of those two words to form an action, no matter what your dialect, race or accent. “Yes” and “no” are some of the first words we learn.

In business, we often assume being productive requires a “yes” or “no” answer. Sometimes we take a militaristic approach. A subordinate must follow orders and answer with a big YES. Say “no” to a commanding officer and you get a demerit. 

Sometimes, it is not necessary to have a black-and-white situation. Simply accepting or declining doesn’t work. Arriving at a certain path may require compromise along the way.

Grey can be the new black or white in business. It can be a place where you can safely plan ahead. It can help with balance in the workplace and between your life and work. It can help you when getting acquainted with staff, an organisation or market.

The next time you try solving an issue, I encourage you to turn off your Pentium chip and dwell in the grey.

With Love!

Shivani Gupta is the Chief Passion Officer of Passionate People Institute.  She is a recipient of many awards such as the Telstra Business Women’s awards. Ask Shivani anything and connect with her on or 0439722040.