Quote of the week
“A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.”
I have a friend, David, who is a new executive with the government. He is striving to be the best leader ever.
Being the kind of guy who always likes to do the right thing, he figured he would commit to some New Year’s resolutions; after all, he reasoned, this is the right moment to celebrate publicly his commitment doing a better job.
Just as Ted Cruz had announced he would renounce his mysterious Canadian citizenship, so David would renounce his bad leadership ways.
But what to renounce? He could renounce his lack of training on leadership, but he has already taken every course that the government offers on leadership…all three of them.
Or he could admit that he needed to become better read on leadership, but he already subscribes to the HBR and reads CGE from cover-to-cover every month. What else does he need?
Or he could admit that he is not involved enough in the changes that are happening in the public service, but he has already sent 143 posts to the Blueprint 2020 Twitter account, so many that there are rumours that the Clerk is thinking of transferring him somewhere that doesn’t have Internet…like Antarctica.
Perhaps, he said to himself, he could become better organized. Like all busy government executives, his to-do list is always too long. He had read somewhere that the secret is to make a list each morning of just three things he would do that day in each of three categories: calls, discussions, documents. Trouble is, he realized, that double holy trinity only works if his staff and the ADM leave him alone and he controls every moment of every day: fat chance of that happening.
So, finally, he decided he would publicly come clean and take a radical step to improve things in his directorate. After all, he reminded himself, President Obama had admitted in a news conference that he had made mistakes and swore that 2014 would be a “year of action.” Obama got kudos for that, so he would do the same.
He told me that he plans to stand up at his very first 2014 management meeting tomorrow and admit to having trouble being decisive. And what are you going to do about it? I asked: after all, even President Obama made a resolution for the future.
Well, he told me, I will take the initiative, create my own “year of action” and set up a committee to review and give me advice on all the critical issues I face.