Expect the un-Expected


I just read an article about the first solar powered flight across the US, and one of the quotes from the organisers was  “The unpredictable side of the project requires a lot of preparation.” 

I thought this was a great quote, at first glance it seems bit nuts, how can you plan for the unexpected, but the answer is actually very simple, try and expect it.

This is just simple risk planning, if it’s a sunny day ask yourself what the chance of rain is, if its high enough, then maybe take an umbrella out with you.

We just need to use the power of our imaginations, and understand a little bit about probability and consequences.

If the risk is low and the consequences low, then we can ignore it, but if the consequences are high, then even if the probability is low we should still consider doing something to mitigate it.

As leaders it’s one of our jobs to expect the unexpected, to be prepared for every eventuality, as Gary Player used to say “the more i practise the luckier I become”.

When we prepare we create our own luck, this might be because we expected a flat tyre on on our car and as a precaution we checked them before we set off, and during the checking we found a nail sat on the driveway which we would have driven over.

We have now prevented that problem from happening. We were lucky for sure, but we were lucky because we were preparing. Luck doesn’t always come to those sat waiting, sometimes we have to go out and create our own luck.

We can create that luck by expecting the unexpected, by thinking about what could go wrong and then looking to prevent it.

The better we do this the lower the probability of failure due to something preventable, and consequently the higher the probability of success.

As the saying goes, “hope the the best, but plan for the worst

Gordon Tredgold

Leadership Principles