On Tuesday you have a big event. It takes you and everyone else to make it happen. The night before the event, you get a text. “Not feeling well won’t be in”. Okay, so you’re down one. The next morning, you reach for your phone first thing. A new text. “My kid is sick, I can’t make it in today”. Oh boy. Now you’re down two. With a small staff, that’s a big problem.
Now it’s Tuesday. You’re shorthanded two key people. It’s double down time. But those two staff had lead roles. Now you’re looking at a project that has just lost part of it’s engine. You’re human and you react. Frustration builds. Everything was going just fine. Now you’re short staffed. There’s no one to jump in and no turning back. This wasn’t the way you thought this event would execute, right?
Like everything you do, you plan for success. You planned for this event to succeed. Everyone does. And there’s a step you and everyone else forgets – what happens if it fails? Are you prepared for failure? If I had to guess, the answer is no. Every organization I’ve ever walked into is not prepared for failure. You don’t think about what could go wrong and what you will do when it does.
As you kick off 2019, you hear everyone talking about their goals and ambitions for this year. There is a general feeling of wanting to shed old ways and commit to doing things differently. Do you want to experience many more wins this year? My #1 tip for you is to spend the same amount of time preparing for failure as you do preparing for success.
The truth is you know how to make things work. Your organization has a success strategy. You do it naturally by setting targets and creating a plan. You expect everyone to show up and do their part. You expect everything to go as planned. And you know that’s not reality. Things happen. People drop the ball. Plans go awry.
Let 2019 be the year you implement a Strategy for Failure in everything you do. Spend the time and resources figuring out what might go wrong. It’s not easy to plan for failure, and it makes all the difference when you hit a bump or run into a wall…which is inevitable. And you know it. The distinction between an exceptional leader and an average one is how you prepare for your off days. The days when the plan goes askew.
When does your Strategy for Failure kick in?
When the database crashes.
When you run short of food at the event.
When the postal service goes on strike the week before mail out.
When the lead staff quits two days before the event.
When your gala event is set for the weekend of two big competing events.
You do your best work when you plan for failure and success in equal measure. Your Strategy for Failure will make your Strategy for Success even stronger, and you WILL win more often. Guaranteed.