The lost art of finesse

January 24, 2013

Delaware culture is firmly embedded in its historical roots. From colonial times to present day, this is a place where what you do is just as important as how you do it. Evidence of this norm is present in society, business and government.

Some observers espouse that such principal is our foundation fiber or the very essence of Delaware spirit. Present day complexities have assembled a collection of challenges unlike any other time in our history. Global events can have local impact and conversely, local events can trigger a global reaction.

Societal need, governmental influence, business interest and personal freedom frequently collide in search of optimum solutions. Enroute to each workable solution is the inevitable tug-of-war over the needs of the many versus the needs of the few.

On any given day our priorities shift in response to critical needs. The science of managing these shifts requires surgical precision. The performance delicacy required to handle difficult situations in a skillful, diplomatic manner approaches art form. Too often decision-makers yield to pressure generated from arrogance, expediency, inexperience, impasse, impatience or politics.

Absent from their consideration is the finesse once extolled as fundamental, critical skill and necessary virtue. In perfecting the mechanisms that drive goal attainment, have we sacrificed virtue? Do the ends justify the means?

Leadership for our nation and state are embarked on second-term journeys. There is much at risk. The legacy carved from their efforts should leave us better prepared for future challenges. This means emphasis on substance over form, virtue over self-interest, and compromise over ego. These are traditional American values; this is Delaware’s essence.

Richard E. Seifert, MBA

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