Living through periods of change
Lord Salisbury was Prime Minister when the country changed more in a decade than it had in a century. Maybe we are going to live through one of those decade now.
Even if not, we can learn the art of working quickly from Salisbury.
In his biography of Salisbury, Andrew Roberts tells a story from Salisbury's daughter.`
She says that, standing at an open door about to go for a walk, he once told his family how he could not understand a recent guest’s condolence on his ‘burden of responsibility’.
"I should understand if they spoke of the burden of decision – I feel it now, trying to make up my mind whether or no to take a greatcoat with me. I feel it is exactly the same way, but no more, when I am writing a despatch upon which peace or war may depend. Its degree depends upon the materials for decision that are available and not in the least with the magnitude of the results which may follow. With the results I have nothing to do."
We should live in the present. When we do, we will make swift decisions we don't undo. Salisbury used to receive telegrams about dispatching the navy during dinner. He read them and gave orders without getting up from the table.
If you want to do well during change and uncertainty, decide once, decide quickly, and get on with it.