#Uncertainty June 23

Coach4aday is a daily blog featuring shared ideas to help people grow and learn. You can follow the blog with one of the like buttons found on top left of Coach4aday website.

In 2020 some Coach4aday posts will feature lessons learned by completing, planning, and experiencing 30 day challenges. The challenges include physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional.


The genesis of today’s post comes from my pastor Dr. David Ruth. He sent out an email last week talking about the UNCERTAINTY of COVID 19 and its impact on First Presbyterian Church in Lumberton NC.


Here is part of his email message:

After last night’s Session meeting I came home and turned on the television to see some exciting sports… no luck. The best I could find was “60 Minutes.”

Part of the show felt like a replay of the Session meeting I had just left. It was how colleges are wrestling with the question of if, how and when to reopen their campuses. I loved what the President of William and Mary University Katherine Rowe said,

“The burden of this decision (reopening) is primarily UNCERTAINTY. Human beings loathe UNCERTAINTY We will do almost anything to avoid it. And now we are called to tolerate a really high level of UNCERTAINTY.”

Here is that segment of 60 Minutes from Sunday June 14, 2020

I have empathy for university leaders being engulfed with UNCERTAINTY. I hate being faced with making a choice that does not present clarity on the outcome. Yet despite what we wish for, we often find ourselves in having to decide a course of action wrought with unpredictability.

Here is what I have learned over time.

  1. Keep asking yourself what information do I need to move forward. Take steps to get that information. Reach out to experts and people with experience. Remember worrying you don’t have the information will only hype up UNCERTAINTY.
  2. That awful feeling of UNCERTAINTY feels worse when you are under siege from stress. It may sound like I am recommending you go further down the rabbit hole but you need to avoid dealing with the decision on a bad day.
  3. The paradox of UNCERTAINTY is that doing nothing is actually a choice. The question is it your best choice. If not then do something.
  4. Every time we analyze a decision we have to determine have we done enough. When that has occurred we come to the moment of truth that we need to decide. I once worked with colleague that wanted every decision to come with ZERO risk. He would nit pick every potential leadership decision with some hypothetical scenario that he believed must be solved before moving forward. We had a frank discussion and disagreement that leadership’s goal is to minimize the risk not the improbable task of eliminating all risk.

Being in a leadership role does guarantee anyone will have all the answers. Teams don’t want leaders to pretend that they do. What they want is a leader that is going to keep them safe. There is no UNCERTAINTY about that.




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  1. […] #Uncertainty June 23 […]

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