Here’s another concept that gives me the twitch … the idea that something is too crucial to be allowed to fail.
In my simple, black & white, unsubtle jargonaut brain the conversation goes like this: no endeavour is too important to fail. The universe is a notoriously unsympathetic and harsh construct, and no points are awarded for how many people are depending on you or how severe their need is. Only in action movies does that count for anything. So, the thing you are doing is important only because it’s your current best-guess response to someone’s issue or expressed need. That issue, that need, that’s important. That person, they’re important. Your project, department, budget … you don’t even register. Your response can fail. Fail to meet your targets, fail to meet the need, fail to resolve the issue, fail to start, fail to complete, fail to stay within budget … It can fail in so many ways.
Yeah, the jargonaut brain doesn’t make a lot of friends sometimes. You’re asking, do I really mean I don’t care about what you’re doing? Who will help if this fails? Well, consider this; your response may be rubbish anyway, which is why it fails. Maybe you’re in danger of failing, maybe you already know you can’t succeed with the resources you have, and there’s nothing you can do about it except appeal to the universe’s sense of fair play and point to the good you’re trying to do. Good luck with that.
There is something else you can do. Ask yourself, what works? In other places, in other situations, what worked? In a perfect world, how would it go? Maybe try that. And yes, we don’t live in a perfect world. Perhaps the reason we don’t live in a perfect world is because we don’t ever try stuff that would belong there.