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Community needs to get to work

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By TJ Taub

Dear Editor,

Why is it so hard for Los Alamos to take the bull by the horns, seize the moment, make a commitment and achieve timely progress on projects, big and small?Maybe it’s a poor fit between how some individuals operate – predominantly, their process/product comfort zone, the decision-making positions they hold for this community and the expectations of their constituents.Process/Product: Some occupations must consider multiple variables, make accommodations for unexpected events and focus on the process. A salary is paid in support of exploring the process but not necessarily its outcome.Other occupations produce a product, be it service or widget. If it’s not timely, or it’s poor quality or irrelevant, there’s no sale or slow sales. Meeting customer expectations is an important incentive as income is directly related to the degree of success or failure in delivering that product.Process/Product: Compare excitement about starting the next “good idea,” to satisfaction in setting goals, prioritizing, completing steps and finishing projects. Compare numerous ‘starts’ with fair to middling results, to fewer, well executed projects forming a base for the next step.Compare a need to continually acknowledge every individually offered thought – regardless of its similarity to information already received (analysis paralysis) – to a commitment to collect fundamental data, engage with a participatory public and make a decision.Compare the position that only an individual may speak for himself/herself, to recognizing that one designated voice representing a group speaks for many.Compare discomfort in committing to a decision, thinking – erroneously – that it’s “done” and precludes future tweaking, to satisfaction in making a decision, moving forward, tweaking as needed.Compare viewing time as an elastic, renewable resource, to the necessity – in order to meet customer needs – to taking deadlines seriously, viewing time as a finite commodity.Compare micromanagement to engaging competent people and letting them exercise their skills.Reticence in decision-making seems to be excessively tethered to the realities that 100 percent of risk cannot be eliminated, there is no foolproof guarantee of 100-percent success in every endeavor, and there will never be 100-percent unanimity behind all decisions. Yet we understand the bell curve, and we know that always pleasing everybody is an unreasonable expectation!Maybe we need to re-evaluate the criteria by which decision-makers – elected or not – are selected and placed in those vitally important positions.TJ TaubLos Alamos