Winning at Work By Giving Up Certainty

By | June 5, 2023

“Learning Organizations” are not just the topic of TED Talks and progressive companies, it is now the chic little black dress of corporate America.

While I am all about learning in my personal and day to day existence, I get queasy and befuddled when I am instructed to share my dreams with a group of people I barely know and rarely see.

Dreams that have deadlines attached to them (goals) require thought, nurturing and time for clarity and commitment.

We often don’t know what we want that would lead to a passionate decision based in desire and a need for self actualization.

If you have had a lifetime of playing small and dismissing your dreams, it will be difficult to share them with others.

Many of the people who want to lead folks towards their dreams (help was the term I heard repeatedly) have no idea what obtaining a dream and living fully entails.

I am often given the side eye because I am at my most comfortable, authentic and powerful when I am swimming amidst uncertainty.

This is a major requirement when moving towards and claiming our goals.

Organizations, which are made up of people, rarely encourage uncertainty and the gifts it can bring.

Selina Meyer Veep Season 6 GIF by Veep HBO - Find & Share on GIPHY

Nobody likes nor supports and understands uncertainty.

Uncertainty means that we allow for and foster the unconventional.

We do not allow ourselves to be blinded and upset when the most nonconventional of the lot speaks up or needs a moment before contributing fresh thoughts and insight.

In our microwave culture, everything is a simple add water and stir solution.

As leaders committed to growth and continual job satisfaction there must be the space for everyone to state : I don’t know; Let’s jump in and figure it out together.

I have rarely seen any leader admit to a lack of knowledge or state : I don’t know.

I have had some shitty jobs wherein the people I worked with insisted that absolutely everything was a life or death emergency.

I am not saying I don’t live with a firm, well defined sense of urgency.

I am well aware that nobody has all the time in the world.

What I have always refused is the belief that to be unsure, not remember or know something is a cause for shame, humiliation and worse bullying and belittling.

I understand time sensitive projects and the desire to reach a certain goal.

What has always pissed me off is the belief that if we are all tense and uptight and know every possible solution things will turn out perfect.

Unless you work with machines or computers and deal with entities that do your bidding by carrying out every whim and desire exactly the way you wish(ala pushing buttons and or keys on a keyboard), you will have confusion, miscommunication, boredom and power struggles.

It is absolutely impossible to dream if there is no joy or wonder that comes from being allowed to flounder with a clear deadline and some solid reasons for all the things that are being done.

Artists are wonderful at this.

As a stand-up comedian years ago, every show, every performance, every joke was steeped in the uncertain.

My advice to any company or person in any type of relationship with another is to set things up so that there is no rabid pre -conceived head trip about how something “should look” or “should sound”.

Allow people to wander and play a bit.

Many great things can and have occurred when we refuse to micromanage the shit out of them and trust the people and team we’ve assembled.

Keep the certainty regarding our ability to handle what life throws our way and revel in the uncertainty that other humans with all of our shortcomings as shortsightedness can bring.

What are you too certain about and how can you let it go ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *