If one of the world’s most experienced and respected diplomats, former United Nations General Secretary and Nobel Prize winner Kofi Annan can’t resolve differences, what hope is there for the rest of us dealing with our own office politics?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that any organization’s politics are anywhere near as complicated as what’s going on in and around Syria. It’s just that some barriers are insurmountable and knowing when to walk away is a critically important skill.
Annan and Syria
Without re-hashing everything going on in and around Syria, it’s fair to say that Annan is resigning because he no longer believes he can solve the problem. He got agreement in principle to a six-point peace plan, but has been unable to move the key players to act on it. There has been and will continue to be all sorts of finger-pointing about who’s to blame, but Annan has decided it’s time for him to walk away from what he sees as insurmountable barriers.
A Framework For Assessing Risk
We originally created this framework for people to use in doing due diligence before accepting a job and describe it in more depth The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan. Since things are always changing, it’s also useful for people assessing the go forward risks of whatever job, project, or endeavor in which they are already involved.
There are always risks. On a continual basis, gather information (what). Analyze it and think about it (so what). Then decide now what to do. We suggest categorizing the risk as low, manageable, mission-crippling, or insurmountable and then taking appropriate action.
Low level: Get on with the work. (But keep your eyes open.)
Manageable: Manage the risk in the normal course of the work.
Mission-crippling: Resolve before going forward.
Insurmountable barriers: Walk away.