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Prepared to Discuss Preparation
I have a few posts under my belt about being prepared. There was this one last week, Preparing for Now, and this past summer Were You Prepared? or this one, The Ultimate Preparation. One might think being prepared is important to me. It it likely that I have spent most of my life trying to get out of a bad situation and thus value the importance of not getting into a bad sitch to begin with – that is where preparedness comes in handy.
Having the tools you need for success,knowing how to use those tools, and then using them properly will lead to the success one expects.
If only it were that simple.
Everyone’s vision of what is needed for preparedness and success is different. Often, an outside, subjective perspective is needed.
One Camping Trip
I can remember packing for a camping trip during the summer before my freshman year of high school. My mom had taken me shopping for new school clothes prior to the trip and I loved the new things she had purchased. These clothes were different from any I had ever worn before. I felt they were more grown-up and bit more “hip,” and very beach-y. Since we were going camping to the beach, I really wanted to bring a few of my new things. My mom, ever practical, would say, “You need to pack for go, not show.” I knew exactly what she meant but convinced her to let me bring one or two of my new things. Now, what I brought was not practical for camping wear, but I was an impetuous almost fourteen-year old and really enjoyed having clothing that made me feel older and ready for high school.
Another Camping Trip
Fast forward twenty years to me taking my own young family camping. The preparation was excessive, as is for most camping trips, but this one also included two personal watercrafts – a SeaDoo and a Yamaha (or Porsche and Cadillac, as I liked to call them). The summer had been hot and we were looking forward to a few days on the lake. I had a new baby to pack for and I had instructed my two other daughters to pack their own bags for the camping trip. I, wrongfully, assumed that the proper attire would be brought along. One of my daughters packed only sundresses and sandals. While this might have worked for the cheap resort we often went to on the Colorado River, these articles of clothing failed miserably at protecting against mountain bugs and cool night air.I had not prepared her for what we would encounter, I hadn’t followed through. She survived that trip, yes, she was miserable and cold in the evening and was unable to enjoy running and jumping in the surrounding wooded area; we often laugh about it still. She is usually blamed for her lack of proper preparation and silly wardrobe choices but she was only seven! As her mother, I should have double-checked her work.
She was naive and silly. I was busy and expected too much of her and not enough of me. Our perspectives were just that, ours. And just too darn objective.
Life Lessons Applied at Work
It is an employee’s responsibility to prepare but it is also the manager’s responsibility to make sure the employee received the right message. Stand and deliver.
A former CEO of mine once told me that people do not fail, employees do not fail, the system fails them. There is a whole theory about systems thinking
, and it makes a great deal of sense, common sense.
You wouldn’t send a soldier into battle without the right gear and weaponry, and you would make damn sure he knew how to best use the gear and when to use what weapon. A master chef would not whisper a recipe quickly to an 11-year old child and expect them to know how to prepare the dish perfectly. A contractor would never begin construction without a design and plan. You would never give a 16-year old a license without driving lessons and insurance.Why on earth would you expect a new employee to jump into a new role and deliver success without proper training or information share about how things are done and what the expectations are? Failure by this employee falls squarely on the shoulders of the manager and the process. Sometimes makes you wonder how poor managers sleep at night, I suppose counting ex-employees instead of sheep…
“I think of life as a good book. The further you get into it, the more is makes sense…”