dinsdag 24 mei 2011

Under pressure

"Under pressure everything becomes fluid" is a famous Dutch saying, which I hereby undoubtedly translated completely wrongly in English :-) It is something we say when the pressure is so high that the timeline determines everything and that you just work-work-work to get the job done. In practice pretty much without thinking.

With every project I manage and conference I design I am becoming increasingly convinced that quite a few people actually consciously let the pressure build to such an extent that they feel they can let the process take over their decision capability. Which is convenient. Because if you can point a finger to the deadline and the incredible pressure you were under to actually reach this deadline, the finger of responsibility does not point to you. In other words: people put their own responsibility on the shoulders of the rather anonymous process. Because if you take responsibility, if you make conscious decisions, you can decide wrongly. And you are responsible.

I have to admit that this development worries me. Is it the recession that makes people insecure about keeping their jobs and thus fuels an increasing responsibility avoidance in a rather sophisticated way? Is it over all insecurity about what is good? Something else? Whatever the cause, I am positively baffled by what people see as utterly unplannable. As far as I'm concerned it's all about finding the right balance. The right balance between planning and seizing opportunity, between planning and allowing for inspiration. It's the same when chairing a group session. I am becoming increasinly allergic to the adagium of some professional chairs who eagerly state: "well, it hall has to come from the group you know". Right, if so, then why on earth do we need a chair?

Sure, we are only humans and being a philosopher and an ethicist I am actuly aware of our vulnerability. As an experienced project manager I am fully aware of the role of coincidences and events that were unplanned. But when it comes to preparation I side with those who say that success is where preparation meets opportunity. Without the preparation the opportunity will not come neither be ceased. Now tell me, have I accidently exchanged my bright pink sun glasses for looking at the world by a pair of ink black ones? Or is there some rhyme and reason to my muttering?

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