Friday, January 06, 2006

Proceed Until Apprehended!

Those of you who know me know that “proceed until apprehended” was one of my favorite expressions. Someone asked me where that came from. I wish I could claim credit for coming up with it – I can’t. The saying came out of a HUD web manager meeting in Indianapolis, back in 1996. It was the first gathering of all the web volunteers from every HUD office; and I spent most of the two days briefing the hundred or so HUD staff there on where we were and where we were going. On the second day, we broke up into small groups and talked about plans for the future. At the end of one group’s report, they offered a motto for the web management organization: “proceed until apprehended.” I thought it was exactly right – a good description of the grass roots efforts that had – and would – be the heart of HUD’s web efforts. And a great reminder of our responsibility to those we serve.

Web managers often have to lead the organization into uncharted territory. They have to be pioneers. They have to try things that haven’t been tried before and think about service in new ways. Hopefully, they chart their courses based on doing the right thing for citizens. I always found that, if I based my strategies on doing the right thing for Americans…if I remembered that citizens counted on me to be their advocate and to give them the best information and services we could offer, then I would be on sure footing. Being a web manager takes courage – courage to proceed until apprehended.

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