Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cuddly Ambiguity?

While trawling for opportunities, I’ve repeatedly encountered a trendy new job requirement:  Must be comfortable with ambiguity.

What an admission for companies to make!

If they are using the correct term [a big IF, but that’s another post], employers are giving applicants fair warning:  You are about to enter a land of inexact language, indecisiveness and nebulousness.

The honesty is refreshing. The implications are terrible.

I can understand wanting people to be equipped to handle uncertainty, change and shifting priorities. The stiff, the stodgy and the stubborn don’t find favor in any successful business today.

However, being comfortable with ambiguity implies that one is OK with not having a clear ambition/product/process. It implies that vagueness, double-speak and evasive behavior are acceptable. Isn’t ambiguity part of the problem, not an attribute we should be proud to contribute as part of the solution?

What if employers instead sought out the individuals who can lead with intelligence, care and clarity?
Such people do not have all the answers; the best ones would unambiguously admit the same.
But then they’d grab their chisels and start chipping away at the challenges confronting the business.

I’d put my money on action-Jacksons over ambiguity-cuddlers any day.