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Join me as I focus a leadership lens on fantasy books and series. Current Series: The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson) Contact me: s10473@protonmail.com

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The Dragon Reborn - Chapter 14 [#100Days, Day 86]

A Bad Plan Well Executed...

    Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne are brought before the Amyrlin Seat and given severe punishments for running away.  The Amyrlin dismisses Elayne, holds Egwene and Nynaeve back and enlists them to find the Black Ajah traitors.  

    "You are the only two in the Tower I can be absolutely sure are not Black Ajah."  The Amyrlin's mouth still twisted around those words.  "Liandrin and her twelve went, but did all of them go?  Or did they leave some of their number behind, like a stub in shallow water that you don't see until it is too late, but I will not let Liandrin and the others get away with what they did.  Not the theft, and especially not the murders.  No one kills my people and walks away unscathed.  And I'll not let thirteen trained Aes Sedai serve the Shadow.  I mean to find them and still them!"
    "I don't see what this has to do with us," Nynaeve said slowly.  She did not look as if she liked what she was thinking.
    "Just this, child.  You two are to be my hounds, hunting the Black Ajah.  No one will believe it of you, not a pair of half-trained Accepted I humiliated publicly."
    "That is crazy!" Nynaeve's eyes had opened wide by the time the Amyrlin reached the words "Black Ajah," and her knuckles were white from the grip on her braid.  She bit her words off and spat them: "They are full Aes Sedai.  Egwene hasn't even been raised to Accepted yet, and you know I cannot channel enough to light a candle unless I am angry, not of my own free will.  What chance would we have?"
Nynaeve and the Amyrlin Seat, The Dragon Reborn, p. 135

    Sending two barely trained Accepted out to catch known murderers and Darkfriends is ... a bad plan.  For the Amyrlin to regain the advantage lost by the sudden strike by Liandrin and her cohort, she needs to act quickly.  Egwene and Nynaeve are not the ideal candidates for this mission; but what they lack in strength they make up for in loyalty; at least in the Amyrlin's eyes.  Most important to her is to have eyes and ears she can trust, instead of the possibility of a full Aes Sedai owing allegiance to the Shadow and spoiling the hunt.

    Deciding when to act and then acting decisively are some of the hardest decisions to make as a leader.  Previously, I've mentioned that continual waiting for situations to develop leads to failure.  Similarly, waiting on additional information to refine the plan to perfection also wastes the single irreplaceable resource: time.  I've run into this problem the past two days at work: a ship has an engine issue and wants a repair at an off-site location, away from her normal home-port.  My first thought when the request came through was: "this is a terrible plan!"  And it's definitely not ideal: mobilizing people, parts, tools, and equipment commits finite resources to a task and situation that we don't completely understand at the moment.  What if the team isn't adequate and I need more folks out there? What if the tools are incorrect? What if our understanding of the task requirements are totally off base? What if ...? What if ...? As I sat and tried to quash the request, a better reaction emerged: plan for the job we know and deal with countless what ifs later.  Is the plan "bad" simply because it's a significant stretch outside the normal comfort zone for the teams, or is it bad because it's truly flawed and not executable?  At the moment, I'm leaning towards the first one; and all I could think of is "we do hard every day, this is no different."  Even the text I sent my boss was: "this is a bad plan, executable, but bad."  Execute and keep attacking the problems as they emerge. 


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