Is your certainty justified?

People can have huge degrees of certainty about things which are not true.  You’ve probably seen this a lot in your discussions with others.  If you’re perceptive, you might have noticed it in yourself a few times.  When it comes to your project, is certainty ever justified?  Sure, you need to make the right decisions.  But are you better served by making a decision knowing that you are not certain or are you better served parading a false certainty?

Don’t fall prey to unwarranted certainty!  I came across a great phrase once, “strong opinions, weakly held.”  I’m not sure of the source but it stuck with me (if you know the source – email me below).  The idea was that you should develop the strongest opinion you can, one based on the best facts and logic you can muster.  But, and this is key, you should not invest your ego or your identity in that opinion.  Don’t make it so that if your opinion is wrong, you are personally crushed.  That is the “weakly held” part.  Have the best opinion you can have, but be humble enough to change it should new evidence come to light.  The same is true with projects and certainty.

All of your decisions rest upon assumptions.  You might not even be aware of some of the most critical assumptions.  But, even if you are, you cannot be certain that those assumptions are correct.  The key is to understand this and be able to live (and decide) with uncertainty.  Make the best decision you can based on the best assumptions you can make.  Identify those assumptions and understand them clearly.  And be ready to modify that decision as soon as you learn that a critical assumption is invalid.

If you are interested in learning more about these ideas, check out my book, Projects on Purpose 2.0, available here.

If you are are managing a project or projects and are interested in learning more about joining a project manager mastermind workshop – to gain professional development hours toward maintaining your certification (PDHs) and to work with other PMs and myself to learn to better overcome project challenges, email me at msteele@quintainprojectsolutions.com and put “PM mastermind query” in the subject line.  I am launching a new group at the end of October 2019.  Can you afford not to make better decisions on your project?  If we solve one problem together that you couldn’t solve on your own how much is it worth to your project and organization? What about to your career?  So hurry and sign up today!