To commit ourselves to a vision of greatness, to live out that vision with allies and adversaries, and to claim our freedom in the process is no easy task. In almost every case it requires an act of courage. We constantly are confronted with the question, “If this is my vision, what courage is required of me at this moment?”
Our wish, always, is to find a safe path. We want to be an advocate for our function, but we want to do it with the blessing of our bosses and peers. The problem is that the very situations that require political skill are the ones that entail some danger. The routine and predictable parts of our jobs require very little political skill and don't bring up the question of empowerment. The fact that we have a vision of greatness means we have chosen to go into the wilderness, and the wilderness always calls for courage.
Unfortunately, all the safe paths have been taken. Our search for a way to get what we want that does not require courage takes several forms.
- We have a religious belief in rationality and data. If logic and the facts are on our side, we hope they alone will be persuasive. There is a bit of an engineer in all of us that worships facts, laws, rules, equations, and predictability. If you can't measure it, it doesn't exist. We take refuge in the belief that being right––factually correct––is enough. Attempting to influence others via facts, data, and logical argument is our strategy of preference. The safest ...