Choices. Decisions. At the highest level they can be classified as either easy or hard ones. On a wholly separate plane are the difficult decisions that need to be made where the option to choose the “right” thing to do over the “wrong” is not presented because there is no perceived right or wrong and there is just no good outcome as the choice still has to be made but either path you take you know it will have devastating consequences.
When you are in business, or in any position of ultimate accountability which all of you are in some facets of your position, you must take these on. You recognize with the expression “the buck stops here”, the “here” is you. In many cases these conundrums are not predictable or avoidable and as prepared as you can become in designing your destiny you are never fully insulated from the Devil’s ultimatums.
Our clients deal very frequently with large Program and/or Center Grants. These applications are monsters and as you likely are aware can easily be hundreds of pages long, request millions of dollars, and support hundreds of people. The bigger the grant, the bigger the burden.
So what do you do when you have to choose one? What do you do when there are two or more and only one can be saved? As in this scenario I have these types of decisions come up all the time and I liken my position to that of a first responder or medical professional where I need to make that decision. With that in mind the scenario morphs into having two massive fragile grants being dropped off a cliff and attempting to catch both won’t work because they are massive and you will need both arms to catch even one of them. If you try to catch both you will fail and both will shatter. If you don’t decide which to catch, lack in action will also cause both to shatter. If you choose one which is all you can do at that point, that grant will be saved but the other will not be.
Because we care and our jobs are more than jobs, these decisions cannot be flippant or haphazard and you swiftly in your role of medic need to determine what direction you take. You weight the options but you quickly realize there is no good one so you assess what you know to determine the impact for choosing one over another.
One projectile hurtling towards the ground is a grant that will seek to continue the funding for a Pediatric Oncology unit. This will give those families who have been dealt a nightmarish hand some hope. There will continue to be more families, who will remain whole, as a result of this Center remaining open.
Within the other projectile is a program that will vaccinate thousands of people from a disease that is fatal for a very significant percentage of those of whom are inflicted. The consequences of the absence of the funding in this case are obvious.
There is no happy ending here. There is no bit of wisdom that will allow you to slice you through this Gordian knot.
These examples are purposely dramatic but also not so fantastic that they have not or will not occur. Day to day life may pose similar situations but thankfully the consequences are far smaller.
The only solace I can provide you with is that you are not alone. Through no fault of your own you have just joined an unfortunate club o f those who can feel your pain by virtue of the industry and times we are in.
The good, if not downright great, news is that these are rare. You can indeed go a lifetime without experiencing a scenario as I describe. This should however be a great reminder that what we do matters. It’s matters a great deal.
Take the time to swim in the satisfaction of those applications you did catch. Imagine the looks on the faces of those who can hug people they might not otherwise have been able to, because you did your part to ensure that the grant that supported that effort did not crash into the Earth.