Photo by Eric Casas
Do you want your doctor to be prepared? … Of course you do. It’s a rhetorical question. We would never go in for surgery or even an annual check-up with a doctor who wasn’t prepared. We expect our medical professionals to be educated, alert, and ready to perform the task at hand. The consequences resulting from lack of preparation differ, depending upon the task/event, but we still appreciate “Preparation Excellence.”
As I age, it seems as if more people I know are spending time with their friendly, local surgeon. Partly this is because my friends (including me) are getting older. Partly it’s because I know more people now than I did 30 years ago. Regardless, the patient (and their family & friends) always expect the surgeon to be prepared. They don’t want a surgeon who is “mostly” prepared or “somewhat” prepared. They want, expect, and demand a surgeon who is trained, alert, and knowledgeable of the surgery to be performed.
The same is true in other walks of life. If you read my articles on a regular (or even irregular) basis, you know that I enjoy diving here in the Philippines. It is relaxing and I get to spend time with wonderful friends, eat great food (before, after, and in-between dives), and see amazing sites (the Philippines is an outdoor and underwater-lover’s paradise!).
I expect the divemaster (DM) to demonstrate preparation excellence. I expect my tank to be filled properly. I expect him to know where we’re going and communicate the dive plan. I expect him to monitor the water conditions during the dive. Why? It’s obvious isn’t it? I value my life! You don’t want to be 40 meters underwater, in a cave, and have an issue!
The picture above was recently taken by a good friend of mine (nice job Eric!). It was an amazing dive. Barracudas! Octopus! Frog fish! Turtles! Jack Fish! Caves! It was also relaxing! I had a great time! Why? Because of everything I was able to see and experience. Because of spending time with friends. AND because I wasn’t worried about the DM or my air or my equipment. They were prepared. They prepared with excellence. … Did I tell you that I always check my own gear as well? Check to make sure the air is on. Check to make sure the regulator is working. Check to make sure my air gauge is ok. Etc. I also prepare with excellence. Why? I value my life (didn’t I tell you?).
Not all of life’s events are life or death (though we do put our lives in the hands of others – surgeons, pilots, taxi drivers). Not all potential consequences of poor preparation are as significant as life/death. But nonetheless, isn’t it worth preparation excellence? Think about the meetings you attend. Wouldn’t they be better if everyone (the leader AND the participants) came prepared? Think about the response you get at the customer service desk. Wouldn’t it be better if the agent was prepared? Think about teacher or tutors. Wouldn’t you learn more if they were prepared?
Dr. Deming (quality guru) was known to say, “all variation is a loss to society.” Isn’t that true (and related to) preparation excellence? Lack of preparation results in loss. Loss of service. Loss of enjoyment. Loss of knowledge. And potentially, loss of life.
Develop a reputation for being excellent at preparation. You don’t have to be “anal retentive.” You can be a nice guy and still demonstrate preparation excellence. In fact, it’s easier for me to be relaxed and kind to others when I’m not distracted (ok, worried) by others lack of preparation (or my own).
Preparing with excellence leads to peace, world-class results, safety, quality and a host of other positive consequences. Work on developing preparation excellence in your life and recognize it’s a continual, life-long process.
How do you prepare? Do you appreciate when others prepare with excellence? As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.