,

Certainty

A popular quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin is: Nothing is certain but death and taxes. True – however, the timing of one and the amount of the other are not certain.

Leaders face certainty and uncertainty when painting their vision – e.g., revenue must cover expenses for an organization to be viable, but the timing of each must be in relative balance or problems will overtake any chance of success.

That there is no crystal ball to give a glimpse of certainty to the planning process does not stymie a good leader – do the thinking and research, be clear on the mission and goals, map a path to achieve success, and turn folks loose to achieve it.

It’s a myth – a misunderstanding – that once the leader shares a vision, plan, mission, or goal that these are cast in stone and unamendable.

Just not true – if the element is not viable, it is wise to ‘fail fast’ and replace it with a better approach; if the element is falling short of what’s expected, amending it for improved performance is imperative.

Results are important, protecting ego by holding course is not, and churning (making too many changes) creates a zig zag path of wasted resources. Putting in the planning up front pays dividends to the success of the mission.

The Constitution of the United States epitomizes this approach – the Founding Fathers have created a governance structure that has endured – it’s in its 227th year now, and the Constitution has been amended only 27 times during that period.

Ben Franklin’s quote above is actually expressing his opinion about how the Constitution will fare in the future – here’s the complete quote: Our Constitution is in actual operation. Everything appears to promise that it will last. But in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.

Appears that Mr. Franklin was correct in his assessment, so far anyway.

This may be of interest to you -
Digital Disruption In The Public Sector: Making The Agency Of The Future A Reality Today
Free Open Source Content Management Systems Event December 10, Washington DC.
Featuring speakers from The White House, National Archives, FEMA, Acquia, Amazon Web Services, and others.
For more information and to reserve your place.

Leave a Comment

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Dick Davies

“But in this world nothing is certain…”
So better to plan and expect change than to cling to an old, broken truth.
The first requirement for growth is a relentless commitment to tell the truth about reality.
The second is to surround yourself with people who are committed to growth.

Reply
Jack Gates

Well said, Dick.

Remember the little child who said the Emperor had no clothes on – a lone voice and a great public service.

Truth-telling for self is an absolute and why waste time with distracting (or disingenuous) people?

Thanks!

Reply