Re: Chas. Handy "Beyond Certainty" LO2813

Bernard Girard (
Thu, 14 Sep 1995 18:11:59 +0000

Replying to LO2800 --

About management and nuclear testing.

I'd like to come back on the recent nuclear testing, not to discuss their
opportunity, but to examine the management problem Chirac had to face and
that CEOs sometimes face too.

You remember, Mitterand decided to stop the tests in 1992. As an opponent,
Chirac said it was a mistake. Not because he had any special information,
but mainly because he was in the opposition. During his campaign, he
promised he would renew these tests. And the more he said it, the more he
became engaged in it : it's not a topic on which you can just change your
mind every day.

Once elected, he said he would ge on with the tests and immediatly his
popularity fell (we don't want nuclear tests, we don't want to fight
Aussies). But, and that's the most interesting thing : he could not stop.
The french version of the nuclear strategy (what we call dissuasion) is
valid if (and only if) the enemy knows that the man with the finger on the
button (Chirac as for now) has the guts to push the button. Who would
beleive Chirac could ever push the button be if he retreated in front of
so small an army (Greepeace, the opinion of the world)?

In a way Chirac behaved in this matter like Ulysses when he decided to fix
himself on the boat not to hear the syrens.

I guess we could find some similar management problems in business world.

Bernard Girard