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Yes, but what if...?

Submitter: Madroon, E.J.
Description: Another year has dawned, yet again, and soon the Directors of ASTRON and JIVE will deliver their eagerly awaited New Year's speeches. The tone will be upbeat and self-congratulatory, and rightly so: The two sister institutes are both riding high at the moment, and can regard the future with serenity and confidence. Much of this is due to wise management, which makes the most of an energetic and talented workforce. To emphasize this, Top Management and their supporting services have recently retreated to modest quarters at the back of the building, in order to get out of under the feet of core business.

But lo, there is a tide in the affairs of persons(*), so even the best-laid schemes o' mice an' persons(*) gang aft agley. Therefore, a wise organization makes contingency plans for things that unexpectedly do not quite turn out as expected. Fortunately, in our world, slight transgressions are tolerated, since it is widely recognized that we undertake, and eventually deliver, highly prestigious projects with minimal resources.

However, at the other end of the spectrum, few organizations have the sense to plan for the nasty contingency that everything works out as planned, or even better than that. Apart from being unnerving and destabilizing, the concomitant hubris of such a situation can complicate the relationship with funding agencies and strategic partners. This is why the Dutch government has issued the above poster, as a warning and admonishment. Perhaps it is not too late to slip in a few thoughts along these lines into this year's speeches.

(*) The word replaces a politically less correct one in the original quote.
Copyright: NORTSA
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