Tenure is something that is sometimes looked at in a negative light. High school and College level professionals can achieve tenure and thereby hold their positions for a lifetime – something that occasionally causes backlash in the community or in their own circles of associates. Tenure can also empower someone to make the right decision despite the possible reactions from anyone else.
Such is the case with Judge Scalia who was recently asked if he worried about public backlash or the opinions of his fellow Justices. He responded that he had life tenure through the US government, and that allowed him to make decisions on what he though was right without a need to consider what the public or his peers thought of him. According to blog post author Geoff Mattie, this made a big difference to him:
This answer had a profound affect on me. I often wonder if I am “doing the right thing” when I make decisions at work. I try, but I would not be honest if I did not admit that the career survival instinct hasn’t kicked in once in a while. Perhaps sometimes I compromise on issues that I know are not good for my projects or my team. But I’ll give the client the answer they want to hear, or perhaps tone down the weekly status report to avoid stirring the pot when there are real issues to discuss.
No, Mattie isn’t suggesting that project managers actually get life tenure. What he’s decided is to act as if he has life tenure when he makes decisions. He asks himself “if I did not have to worry about politics or personalities or self-promotion, would I still make this move”. The results are outstanding, as he generally makes the best decision for the project and not just for himself.