Crossing Golden Gate (Noël/

I have no idea

Reda SadkiLearning strategy

What do we do when we cannot achieve certainty?

We increasingly accept that we need to make decisions without the comfort of certainty. It is okay to not know. It is healthy to accept the unknown as we no longer seek certainty. It is when we are no longer certain that we learn.

In some cases, uncertainty opens the door to knowledge that we were not seeking. This is incidental learning.

The organization still expects certainty. Some of our leaders demand it. As working professionals, we are expected to provide answers, i.e. to know. Yet our expertise is increasingly in our ability to respond when faced with new contexts (for example, new technologies, reduced budgets, or changes in political leadership), new challenges (for example, Ebola or noncommunicable diseases) where learning is the process of constructing viable but context-specific answers.

We straddle between expectations that we know (as experts) and the unknown that is part and parcel of our daily work. There is some comfort in certainty, as well as lower risk we may value because of the political nature of our environment. This is, in part, why we may pull back, as we may fear others seeing that we do not know.