Ready or Not

Gerwig 2014-02-10

Perhaps you live in a part of the world that is warm? Some of my friends and former colleagues, who are regular readers, live in Cebu, Philippines. I envy you at the moment. While you’re enjoying nice warm, sunny days, I’m freezing in one of the coldest winters the US has experienced in decades. While you are swimming, scuba diving, and enjoying life at the beach or on a banca (local diving/recreation boat), I’m wearing gloves, hats, coats, and snow boots!

There was a time when I loved the cold. I would go camping or hiking in the snow. The colder the better. One time I went backpacking with a friend for a couple days in over 3 feet of snow and 28 degrees below (Fahrenheit!). That was cold! I’ve enjoyed the cold and snow others ways: snow skiing (alpine & nordic), sledding, snowboarding, and snow shoeing. Maybe you’re like that. Maybe you love the cold. Some people do. It’s ok. I get it. I don’t think you’re weird. Really.

In all seriousness, while I do envy my friends in warm climes like Cebu, I also enjoy the snow. I don’t mind getting bundled up and having some outdoor fun. Ice-skating. Sledding. Hot chocolate. You get the idea. I don’t even mind driving on snow, especially new fallen snow. There’s something exhilarating to me about driving around in new snow. Everything looks different. There are different colors, different sounds, and different perspectives. Clean. Fresh.

But one thing I don’t like is ice, at least to drive on. I like to put ice in my drinks. I like to have ice available to put on a sprained ankle. I like to look at ice carvings. But I definitely don’t like to drive on ice. Ever done it? It’s tough, if not impossible. Right? You can control a slide somewhat if you’re driving in snow or gravel or mud or even wet grass, but ice? No way. If you’re driving on ice and lose control, hang on! That’s all you can do.

This last week we had an ice storm where I live. In total, we had almost 2 inches of ice. It coated the cars, the trees, the power lines. Everything! People lost power. Trees fell. Cars got smashed. Transformers blew. It was a mess.

I was thinking about the ice storm afterward. We knew it was coming and there was no stopping it. It was like playing hide-and-go-seek when the seeker says, “Ready or not, here I come.” He’s saying that whether or not you’re done hiding, whether or not you’re ready, he’s coming to look for you.

The ice storm was that way. Whether people were ready or not, it was coming. If you didn’t have food, it was coming. If you didn’t have a back-up generator, it was coming. If you didn’t have enough food in the pantry, it was coming. There was no hiding from it.

Many crises in our lives (even small obstacles) are like that as well. Like the ice storm, they’re coming, whether you’re ready or not. They don’t come when it’s convenient. They don’t come when you’re ready. They don’t come when you schedule them to come. The storms of like, big and small, come at their will, ready or not.

The world-class leader knows these storms will come and prepares. Like Joseph centuries ago in Egypt, they prepare. Joseph knew a long famine was coming and stored up grain for the lean years. When the storm came, he was ready. You see the storm will come if you’re ready the same as it will come when you’re not ready. So what’s the moral? Stop the storm? No, the moral is “be ready.”

You can’t plan for every possible obstacle, but you can prepare for major storms and routine obstacles. Develop contingency plans, stock your pantry, create business continuity plans, buy a back-up generator, build crisis management plans, fill your car with fuel.

Whatever your situation, you need a plan and a back-up. You need to be prepared. A business contingency plan or a crisis management plan is like insurance. You take it for granted until you need it. Then you’re either glad you have it or sad you don’t.

Whether you live in a warm clime like Cebu or a geography that experiences ice storms, you will have storms in life, big and small. In ancient times, the societies that prospered over the long-haul were those that fortified their cities during times of peace. They might enjoy the rest that peace brought, but they also knew that war was ahead. It was inevitable. The same is true in our lives.

Develop a plan and be ready, because the storm is coming whether you’re Ready or Not.

Are you a good planner? Or do you avoid planning? Are you Ready? Or Not? What examples come to mind where planning paid off for you, your family or your organization?

As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.

Dr. is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]LeadStrategic.com.

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