Every new year brings out the pundits and prognosticators of doom, gloom and “uncertainty.”
Those of us in the Intelligence game need to steer clear of these siren singers and their verbose observations of the obvious. Whatever work we’re doing, we should not overwork “uncertainty” in the analysis. And we should not let our organizations use “uncertainty” to justify inaction or avoidance of decisions.
Rather, we should build off yesterday’s Intelligence Resolution of putting winning first and foremost. Our second resolution should be to jump in with both feet!
In all the areas where we can help the organization improve its chances to win, we should demonstrate passion and commitment to the cause. We should not wait to be asked or expected “to support”. We should lead!
Whenever I see intelligence professionals adopt the attitude of dispassionate observer -above the fray, calling their analyses without urgency or the will to act – I see someone who will have to spend more time updating his or her resume’.
You might get away with this attitude in large, bureaucratic organizations … for awhile, at least. But you are likely consigning yourself to only limited impact because your analyses will lack zeal or enthusiasm. And you maybe enabling an adversarial stance with decision makers when you habitually “leave the decision in their hands”. Business success (and life, for that matter) is too short-lived for “a just the facts” approach to intelligence.
An executive, no matter how mean or magnanimous, needs his lieutenants to bring passion and commitment to lead. (You do see yourself as a lieutenant to senior decision makers, don’t you?) It is easier to drive action and align the troops when decisions are taken with passion and zeal. Great organizations adopt the attitude “right or wrong, do it strong” with reason. If right, they win and win big. If wrong, they accept the defeat and get right back into action.
Mealy mouthed intelligence analysts rarely break through in this environment in good times. In tough times, they are rightly cast to the curb.
Don’t be these guys! Lead, bring passion, be prepared to argue a case for action. Don’t try to stand above. Instead, jump in with all the brashness of one who believes “if it’s gonna be, it’s up to me.” You’ll be a lot better at your job if you do.
THIS POST FIRST APPEARED JANUARY 8, 2014