Today’s Coaching: Prepare. You may recall the retired admiral and former commandant of the Coast Guard, Thad Allen. He led the response to Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil spill.
When I met Allen in 2011 he said one thing I’ll never forget. You can’t pick your crisis. You have to be prepared for anything because anything can happen and it usually does.
Sound advice from a leader. If you aren’t prepared you’ll have to come from behind and that’s not a good place to be in a crisis.
Consider these small-scale personal crisis situations.
- Ralph was unhappy, prickly and uncooperative as a line manager and when a senior leadership position opened he all of a sudden became happy, agreeable and cooperative. Ralph was too late. He wasn’t considered for the promotion.
- An entrepreneur friend was curt, irritable and standoffish to a seemingly insignificant visitor to his booth at a trade show. Later he was rejected for a chance to sell his new IT software and services when his company name was recognized and matched to the sour encounter.
- A student was short-tempered and disrespectful to a professor. When she didn’t do so well on his exam she asked for the opportunity to contribute extra credit work. The professor declined.
By preparing, all these situations were avoidable. Life can be hard. But that’s no reason not to invest in yourself so that you’re always in a place to lead yourself well. Make sure you have a reserve and you’re always adding to it. In most all cases resourcefulness rather than resources is what is lacking.
Personal leadership is not something where you can come from behind and win. You have to be prepared ahead of time. You have to already have a reserve of strength, composure and resourcefulness because the crises will come.
You have to prepare.
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail