When selecting what information to share with the President, staffers follow the rule of “No Surprises.” The President is too busy to be briefed on everything, but make sure she is never blindsided.
When selecting what information not to share with the President, staffers follow the rule of “Plausible Deniability.” If the President doesn’t know about it, she can’t be blamed for letting it happen.
The first rule should be observed at all levels of an organization, not just at the top. Even front-line supervisors don’t like to be surprised.
And while the second rule seeks to protect the leader, it makes her look like she has no control over her own troops. The leader might survive if the ruse is successful, but only in a weaker state.
One thought on “What to say”
Maybe we should replace “plausible deniability” with “plausible accountability” and see how that shifts the conversation!