“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.
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. 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 email@example.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