Certainty?

The twin-prop 19 seat airplane, on a flight from Denver to Sheridan, was bucking like a livid bronco; a white knuckled flight made worse by uncertainty, and total silence from the pilot. As the plane kicked and bumped its way through the turbulent air my wife squeezed my knee with anxiety.

It was on the return flight that we learned a valuable lesson. Before we took off, a different pilot briefed us: "in about ten minutes we're going to hit some updrafts of hot air. It'll knock us from top to bottom, and we'll bounce up and down. Also, we're landing into 30 mile-an-hour winds that will jerk the plane from side to side." In spite of the frightening preview, counter intuitively, my wife calmed down.  Why?  Because by informing us of what's coming, and making the uncertain more predictable, the captain put her mind at ease.

Often leaders communicate less when uncertainty goes up.  But in the absence of communication and information people awefulize and terribilize (think "worse case" scenarios).  It is exactly when uncertainty is most present that communication needs to be the highest.  Secrecy and control prompt people to become more guarded and suspicious.  At a time when the business needs as much mind and heart from its people, silent leaders alienate the very talent that will help get back to safety.

Now, the flip side is that too much certainty – giving yourself too much credit – is a sure way to limit your innovation and adaptability…Enjoy the video and reflect! 

In the spirit of leading and learning! 

Eric Kaufmann

Founder sagatica.com

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