We Need to Make Sure


“We need to make sure.”

I heard this comment repeatedly from a project manager. Yet she didn’t explain how to make sure. Who was responsible? When would others be accountable? What is the time-frame? Even when asked she just repeated the comment.Employee at Chalkboard

What I believe she really meant was that she was too uncertain to make a decision and had decided to postpone the decision until she emotionally felt better, not until she could methodically evaluate the situation. She also failed, as many do, to realize that a decision to postpone is a decision too, one that often is more costly than the other decision options.

To those around her not paying much attention, the comment likely sounded like something a leader may say as they note the importance of tasks. But without a plan and accountability, it became meaningless management babble.

Uncertainty is normal. Creating a plan to address as much uncertainty as reasonably possible is good business. Using vague statements without a plan is just an action of the fearful, the emotionally paralyzed, and the unprepared.


Glenn S. PhillipsGlenn S. Phillips is the author of the book Nerd-to-English: Your Everyday Guide to Translating Your Business, Your Messages, and Yourself.  You can email Glenn directly at glennsphillips@nerdtoenglish.com.

Glenn is also the president of Forte’ Incorporated, a consulting firm that works with business leaders to understand and address the often hidden technology and business risks lurking within their organizations.

© Copyright 2012. Glenn S. Phillips, Forte’ Incorporated. (205) 985-1111


About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.