It’s true that accountability can contribute to resolve, but I think there is more to it than that. Many of us (myself included at times), as well as organizations in general, lose our resolve when we start implementing on a strategy or a plan when things don’t work out the way we thought they would, or when there is more resistance than anticipated. Occasionally, we encounter outright opposition or hostility to our aims. When we see it might be harder than we originally thought, we lose our resolve, find excuses why something can’t (or shouldn’t) be done, and move on to the next “easy” solution.

Military strategists talk about “friction.” Whenever you launch an operation, there is always some form of friction. Plans get lost or misunderstood, timings are missed, communications are garbled. A unit is supposed to be at the line of departure at H hour, which is 1801 hours, but because of fatigue, it’s transcribed as 1810 hours, and consequently gets bombarded by its own artillery. And then the enemy gets a vote. Consequently, in military strategy, you learn to assume that plans will awry, timings will be missed, the enemy will counter attack or not be at the place you thought they would be in the strength you had assumed. You learn to hope for the best while planning for the worst. You keep the objective in mind, and the concept of operations and tactics are modified to reflect the ground situation.

We need to see our progress in the same terms. We all know what we need to do, and in general terms how to do it. We need to realize that no one owes us any particular outcome. We have to make plans, but then adapt on the fly to the situation as it manifests on the ground.

© 2011 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes permitted for non-commercial purposes with full and proper attribution.

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