I was facilitating a seminar a few weeks back, and one of the speaker’s, at one point in his comments, said:
Well, I’m a leader, and I don’t like surprises.
He said it with great bravado, so it was easy to get swept up in the legitimacy of his words.
There’s only one problem: It’s a stupid declaration.
The new world, whether that world is business, government, church or non-profit, is predicated on the inevitability of surprise.
If you don’t want to be surprised, don’t be a leader.
Now, you might say, well maybe he just meant he doesn’t want people to hide things from him when they find out important information or make a mistake. And, that’s quite possible.
But, here’s the deal: If you use your John Wayne swagger when you declare that you don’t like surprises, here’s the real message you’re communicating:
First, you better not blow it.
Second, if you do blow it, you better tell me immediately, so I can punish you and clean up your mess.
Third, and this might be the loudest message you communicate:
Don’t risk, because of if you risk and it doesn’t work, well…refer to 1 and 2.