Friday, May 26, 2017

When fearless advice gives way to loyal implementation

by Nick Charney RSS / cpsrenewalFacebook / cpsrenewalLinkedIn / Nick Charneytwitter / nickcharneygovloop / nickcharneyGoogle+ / nickcharney

A while back I was on a road trip with Todd Julie, we were in Guelph delivering a workshop to the city under the joint masthead of the Institute on Governance and the Govlab at NYU (Alan Kantrow was co-delivering with us).

Todd and I went out one evening and got to talking. We talked about a number of things - including why 1993 might be the best year ever for music, likely because of where we were as angry youth at the time. But one thing that Todd said stuck out above all else. It was a quote from the film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind:
When you are young, your potential is infinite. You might do anything, really. You might be Einstein. You might be DiMaggio. Then you get to an age where what you might be gives way to what you have been. You weren't Einstein. You weren't anything. That's a bad moment.
In the moment it was an incredibly potent and raw statement. We were talking about our lived experience and the way he related his to the quotation to made it immediately visceral. It's feeling I've carried with me ever since.

More recently, I was in a room with folks who spend more of their time at the coalface between fearless advice and loyal implementation and someone I trust and admire professionally said something very similar. She said:
There's two realities here. There's the best public policy advice and there's the political imperative, and right now the former is giving way to the latter.
She said it to a room full of people more senior than I but looked directly into my eyes without once breaking eye contact. The message was clear, the time for fearless advice has passed, we were now onto loyal implementation.

There's no grandiose lesson here, I was just struck by the parallel.

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