Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst

Today is Wednesday, so this post is on Outstanding Performance. 

Tim Driskell is a climber.  I found him when I came across a web page he posted on  Acadia National Park, in Maine.  I liked one of his quotes on climbing.

  • “If you decide to go out to these wild places and put yourself in these conditions, be responsible for yourself and those in your party.  There are many requirements; good judgment, common sense, experience and leadership are just a few.  Unexpected things can and do happen…Be prepared.  Expect the unexpected.  Always carry a bivvy sack (a space blanket) on every climb.  Be prepared to spend the night up there!  Plan for the worst, but hope for the best!”

Mr. Driskell’s advice applies on the job too.  It’s important to set goals and plans for accomplishing them.  However, plans often fall apart quickly.  Outstanding performers create plans.  They also create contingency plans by asking themselves “what if” questions. 

A long time ago, I was certified as a Kepner-Tregoe rational problem solving course facilitator.  I learned a lot about decision making and problem solving teaching that course.  However, the most important thing I learned was how to conduct a potential problem analysis

Potential problem analyses are the last step in any plan I undertake.  Once I’ve decided on a plan, I ask myself, if I do this, what can go wrong?”  The answers to this question are my potential problem analysis.  Once I have identified what can go wrong, I decide how likely it is that these things will actually go wrong. 

I develop contingency plans for the most likely potential problems.  These aren’t detailed paper and pencil plans.  They are ideas I have about what I’ll do if things start to go poorly.  In this way, I always have a plan B and plan C for accomplishing my goals.

The common sense point here is simple.  Plan your work, but also identify potential problems that may arise and then plan for what you will do when and if you encounter these unexpected problems along the way.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website www.BudBilanich.com for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: www.CommonSenseGuy.com for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to www.FirstGiving.com.TheCommonSenseGuy to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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