Friday, May 14, 2010

Plan B Becomes Plan A.

So I read this article on AC 360, Anderson Cooper's website for his television news/talk show AC 360.

Click here to read

Anyway, the article states that the mere gesture of having a Plan B sets your belief systems to recognize the necessity of a Plan B. What I argue and the article argues is that it's a set-up for performing less than your best, and is a limit. I wholeheartedly agree. I really do.

I think it infects your language when you disclaim and advertise the Plan B in order to placate and appease others. When you tell the team that you have contingency plan B to see you through in case something happens, it's a subconscious signal that you see that the plan will fail, and will need for backup plans to intervene. You may disagree, but there's no denying the amount of hustle that someone has when they have only ONE plan, as opposed to when they are subdivided on two plans. Mentally, I focus much better when I begin with the end in mind. My judgment is heavily clouded when I think about supporting my Plan B as well. We might as well go for the Plan B if we're going to talk about it!

My point, which has only hit me now after reading the AC 360 article is why I did not decide to run for the Presidential position again for UNICEF at UH.

What I have been saying for these past 4 months has been a polished version where I've basically said: in order for UNICEF at UH to grow, I need to step back and allow the team to grow, allow the group to spread their wings and fly.

That was it. It made sense in my mind, but I don't believe it makes sense in the eyes of others who just, aren't here with me. They have not witnessed what I have and there's no telling the amount of thought that went into the decision -- I couldn't boil my message down yet. So I stuck with my 'spreading their wings' tale.

But now I think I have it. :)

This whole year as President I've been their Plan A, and as President my vision of the year's events is essentially what I'm creating. I've lead the team to take on projects with a clarity that has set tasks, and if my heart didn't rest easy at night, then I knew more needed to be done. And I put it down to a science; I knew the exact things that needed to happen in order for us to put our best foot forward. I also knew that if we had more time, we would have done x, y, and z.

Three reasons. For the organization as a whole, for myself, and for the officers whoever they turned out to be (at the time I didn't know if it would be a lot of old officers or all new officers).

1) The organization as a whole: I have to leave my legacy. That is the single most important thing a leader can do. And I can't do that if everything I know about UNICEF and how to have a successful year resides in me. They need practice and experiential learning. And I'm here to force them to learn. :)

2) For myself: I am pursuing dreams here. :) And that's a full-time job in itself, and I am ENTITLED to this; I've been deferring this for too long. I need to be far away enough to not be called upon to put out fires because my Role is different. I need to be cohesive on this front. I can't be having the title as President, and scaling back immensely and trying to put most of the power into my Secretary and Advocacy Director and other officers; that's not how it works. If I'm going to be the President again, I need to be living the life of a President! That simply means I need to be making the Plan A with my team and executing a Plan B if it goes awry.

I could not be the Plan A by being President, and I could not remain an officer and be a Plan B when the President elect was remiss with his/her duties. I could not. I have enough foresight to know that it will happen. And so with that knowledge, I must make sure that I stand my ground and make sure that they step up, and I do not. It sounds ridiculous to read "I must make sure I don't step up." But it's a tough love, long-sighted decision. I've already proven that I have, and in my own way, doing the right thing by stepping down, no matter how much physical pain it gives me to not know how seriously they will treat this opportunity, is in a sense, stepping up.

For the officers: Anyone who thinks that doing the role of President once means the second time you've distilled the role to a science and it becomes easy is absolutely wrong. You're giving everything you have and more, and that's only because you're smart enough to navigate better the second time around which means if you are honest to yourself, you have to dig deep and give more than you ever have given before because you have less excuses to rely on. You're experienced. That's one major lesson I learned from the previous President who remained president. We floundered when she was a disappearing act. So did she, but she wasn't man enough to say it. I'm so glad I did not partake in that title inheritance and lame duck presidency implementation. My officers deserve better than a President that's in name only, and not in actions or heart. My reputation is something I will own up to.

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