For Leaders a 100% Sure is Too Late

By the time you are 100% sure about something, it may be too late.  This is true not only for stocks but management as well.  We are constantly asked to make tough, evidenced-based decisions.  However, we often only ‘pull the trigger’ and act when we are “sure”.  But how sure, is sure enough?  My co-worker Elad shares his experience with being 100% sure.

I was in the army as a team commander in the Paratrooper Special Forces and worked with a team of 18 guys from boot camp and basic training, to field training and sophisticated high-risk operations.  During this time I faced a leadership dilemma regarding my team’s grenade launcher.  In field training other team members voiced concerns about his courage to act when necessary.  They felt he wasn’t ready and brave enough to risk his life for others.  Despite their concerns I defended him.  I believed he deserved a chance to complete the training and be part of the team.  It was important for me to show the team that we “never give up” on one another.  Especially since the easiest thing to do, in Special Forces, is to let go of a team member.  So, even though the evidence showed that he didn’t have the necessary personality or the skills to be part of the team and join us on special operations, I gave him a chance to grow.

One night, during an operation in a camp, we were out patrolling in a neighborhood with narrow streets, making it difficult to safely cross the camp and protect from above.  As we came to a turn gunmen started firing upon us from a window.  The only way to escape from the ambush was for our grenade launcher to get in front our patrol and provide us some cover.  But, he refused and things started to unravel.  In that moment, with the life of his friends and his own life on the line, I realized that I was 100% sure that this guy didn’t have what it took to be in special operations.  Unfortunately, it was too late.  Our unit was only able to escape by bringing another team to provide cover for us.  It was an unforgettable lesson for me and now when the evidence presents itself, I take decisive action instead of waiting to be 100% sure.


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