Are You Prepared to Succeed?

Last winter in Atlanta, we had two major ice events. In both cases, many were unprepared. The consequences… a lot of scrambling to get ready and a lot of empty shelves. I guess that’s okay in the greater scheme of things. Ice events in Atlanta are fairly rare.

These events prompted me to think more seriously about the issue of being prepared. I’ve given the topic a fair amount of thought since the ice melted. I have several observations and ideas to share – too many for one post. So, today is the first in a series – five or six, maybe seven posts, on this critical issue.
Here’s my first observation:

The best leaders seem to consistently show up better prepared than others.tweet_bird

That idea alone makes me want to be better prepared. However, there are other reasons preparation matters…

When you are prepared, you get better outcomes. I don’t know about your organization, but in mine, I’ve watched this play out for decades. Those who are better prepared are allocated more resources – both people and dollars. For me, that’s enough incentive to get my act together the best I can. There are no guarantees, but I’ve observed a striking correlation between preparedness and positive outcomes.
When you are prepared, people take you and the work more seriously. This may be obvious, but I still see leaders miss this one. If you don’t care enough about your work to prepare, whether a budget presentation or a keynote, why should others care? I want my level of preparedness to speak volumes about the importance of whatever it is I’m presenting.
When you are prepared, you set a good example for your team members. I’ve said this for years: People (your people) always watch the leader (you.) One of the things they are looking for are clues regarding what’s important. They're also looking to see if you are trustworthy. If you talk about preparedness and don’t model it, you’re done. Your people won’t trust you nor will they do what you ask them to do – at least in this arena. You’ll have no moral authority.
When you are prepared, you strengthen your personal brand. If I asked those who work with you to describe your brand, what would they say? Would their description be what you want it to be? Would preparedness be part of their commentary?
Next week, I’ll write about one of my struggles with this topic:

Although I value preparedness, I find it harder and harder to show up prepared.

I’ve tried to figure out why this is happening and what to do about it.
Until next week… Be prepared![GLS_Shield]

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Danielle Elizabeth Aaronson

8 years ago

I have always prided myself on being prepared. It has become a running joke with close friends, coworkers, and family- need a band aid? Danielle has it! Need a saftey-pin? Danielle has it! Want to review the notes from the first meeting 2 years ago, or need an extra copy of today's meeting agenda? Danielle has it!
It has always been a point of pride, but, recently, I feel similarly to your last sentiment. It seem it is harder and harder to be prepared. I have been looking into this for my personal development- is that my job has more demands? my schedule fuller? my mind not focused? Am I trying to do too much at once? I do not want to be the one scrambling last minute and running, out of breath into meetings. Most of my reasons for NOT wanting to be that person you have listed above.
I look forward to following your journey and series on "being prepared" and hopefully growing together.
Danielle Elizabeth Aaronson

Jonathan Shurbutt

8 years ago

A great read to start off the week! Noting the origin and numerous definitions of the word "prepare" reminds us of the critical aspects underlying the idea: to make ready for use or consideration; to make able to do or deal with something; to be willing to do something. As you detailed, preparation is not merely being ready, it's an act of creating success and defining ourselves as leaders. Looking forward to the rest of the series!


8 years ago

Have you looked at the Boy Scouts of America? Their motto is Be Prepared. And one of their marketing campaigns is a flour-de-li with the phrase-Prepared. For Life.
If you have any connections to Scouts, it might be worth looking into. As an Eagle Scout, they taught me how to plan for the worst and expect the best. And they are great at letting the boys fail and try again.


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