Saturday, August 29, 2020

Empty suit

Back in the day, project leaders wore something more than 'business casual'. Both men and women dressed for their roles.

But, alas, some of these "suits" [including ladies' attire] were 'empty'. If there were informing principles that guided policy and decisions, they only seemed to emerge when the consensus was already formed.

It was frustrating to work for those people.
A line from the play "Hamilton" is apt, and the issue is centuries old:

If you stand for nothing, what will you fall for?
Well, actually, there's no way of knowing the answer. And so these are not only frustrating people to work with, they can also be dangerous, pulling the rug out, failing to support, and reversing course without notice.

Where you sit
I think this is a bit different -- yet, not that much different -- from the similar adage: 
"Where you stand depends on where you sit".
That bit of wit is more about taking responsibility for consequences. When you don't have such, you can say anything. You may think you stand on principle, but it's harder when you're accountable for the consequences of your actions. You may find a tactical compromise will actually advance your strategic principle.

It's still frustrating, but we see it all the time. Responsibility, authority, and accountability shape things differently and bring realism to theory.

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