The First of September has always symbolized a change for me. The vacation season is over, kids are back in school and, hopefully, the oppressive heat of the Texas summer will give way to cooler temperatures. We have turned a corner – all the great aspects of fall are on the way and a new found hope with it – even now, the air in the early morning is starting to smell different.
For mushers aspiring to compete in this year’s Iditarod – the season is turning their attention to building the strength of their team – to start locking in on the preparation of the team!
Being from Texas, I equate this with football camps – the initial, mini-camp workouts that are designed to start the process of getting everybody’s head in the game, evaluating talent, and hitting the weights to build the muscle that will be needed for later. It’s time to burn off the ‘Goo’ – the speed of tomorrow is built on the ‘muscle’ developed today – It’s time to get busy!
As much of an ‘Action’ guy as I am – I know that the ‘action’ needed at the beginning of the season centers around preparation. The definition of ‘Preparation’ talks about a state of ‘Readiness’ and after all it’s Ready, Aim, Fire – not Fire, Ready, Aim!
For our teams and for us as leaders – what is our next step of readiness? What event or ‘race’ is in the not too distant future that you need to get ‘Ready in Advance’?
From the practical side, whether it’s preparing for a meeting, the next product launch, or the Iditarod – we can gleam some best practices to improve our skill set:
- Leverage the past to prepare for the future
- Conduct debrief sessions
Review and Critique the last Plan / Preparation
Is there a way to improve our planning and preparation process? What are our tendencies when it comes to preparation? Who has this strength on our team?
- Review the lessons learned from the last event
One of the most powerful methods of current preparation is to avoid repeating past failures or mistakes.
“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” – George Santayana
Many times, we hold onto the pain of the experience and forget the lesson – let’s flip this and learn the lessons while forgetting the pain!
- What happened in the past?
- What were the corresponding results?
- What do I need to DO differently? What do we need to DO differently?
- What were some of the underlying assumptions that brought us to our previous conclusions?
- Were there areas or aspects that we failed to anticipate?
- Where did we miss the mark and fail to execute effectively?
One of my favorite sayings is, “Today’s problems cannot be solved by yesterday’s thinking. Yesterday’s thinking caused today’s problems!”
We’ll look at different areas of preparation this week and start to build out the plan for better planning and preparation.
Tomorrow’s successes are built on today’s preparation! It’s a new season. Time to get busy!