Saturday, April 30, 2016

Invisible Achievements

Some of the greatest achievements are invisible because they are the equivalent of an accident/crisis that didn't happen. A few examples:

  • The lawsuit that was not filed.
  • The union that did not freak out.
  • The embarrassing story that didn't make the newspapers.
If a matter is sensitive, these non-events just don't occur magically. They are shaped with a deft hand and a jeweler's eye. In my experience the achievement of a non-event is rarely appreciated.

If the situation had gone to hell and then had been corrected, the corrective actions would have received kudos.



Wally Bock said...

My favorite in recent memory is Y2K. Folks like Peter De Jager worked tirelessly for almost a decade to alert people to the potential problems. Battalions of programmers worked long hours to fix systems. Companies spent billions on new systems to avoid the problem.

Then, when the Millennium rolled over and there wasn’t a huge emergency, people ignored or forgot all the work that had been done. Folks like Peter spent New Year’s Day doing interviews and answering the question, “Was it all hype?” over and over.

Michael Wade said...


That is a very interesting and memorable example. Thanks for mentioning that.