During the year I was chairing the strategic planning committee and we were actually developing the new plan, there were many moments when it seemed like a plan would not emerge.  We were months into the process, wondering if all of our data gathering, input sessions, research and thinking would actually produce something besides volumes of seemingly disjointed notes.  During this stage we talked a lot about the “rabbit coming out of the hat” and wondering if it would!

This week I needed an update from the chair of one of our planning sub-committees.  She is charged with leading a group to accomplish a very complex task and they have only been together for a short time.  “I am nervous that there is not a rabbit in the hat,” she said. “And everyone seems to be expecting us to produce it quickly.”  

I was reminded of a quote from Gilda Radner: 
Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end.  Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what is going to happen next.  Delicious ambiguity…

I think Gilda is one of the few people who would link the words delicious and ambiguity.  Most people want things resolved quickly.  Often they rush to submit something; when, as was the case with our strategic plan, waiting a bit longer significantly helped the process and strengthened the final product.  

Try to get comfortable with a level of limbo.  Usually the rabbit does appear in the end, and the wait is usually worthwhile.

— beth triplett

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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