Are You Prepared?
On a recent business trip, I was talking to an owner of an organization about being prepared. How much preparation is needed? How damaging can it be when one is not prepared? How much should be invested in preparation? These were various questions being discussed and as the conversation came to a transitional point he simply said, “Just be prepared!” The Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared” has been around since 1907. In the 3rd part of Scouting for Boys, Robert Baden-Powell explains the meaning of the phrase:
“The Scout Motto is: BE PREPARED which means you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty:
- Be Prepared in Mind by having disciplined yourself to be obedient to every order, and also by having thought out beforehand any accident or situation that might occur, so that you know the right thing to do at the right moment, and are willing to do it.
- Be Prepared in Body by making yourself strong and active and able to do the right thing at the right moment, and do it.”
Although I was not a scout in my youth, this advice could be applied to many settings. For example, in a business setting some important preparation-related behaviors are strong self-discipline, good organization, anticipating actions/needs of others, and being responsible. Some specific examples of these could be:
- Be prepared for a sales appointment by having a clear set of objectives and doing homework on the client’s needs and expectations.
- Be prepared prior to a meeting by gathering key information, reading materials ahead of time, and bringing 2 to 3 points to discuss on the topic even if you’re not expected to lead the meeting.
- Be prepared by building your network of people and connections during prosperous times when you don’t need their assistance or help. This will prove to be very beneficial when you do need to lean on others for advice.
- Be prepared for business challenges by accurately assessing personal and organizational threats and then building a plan to mitigate those threats.
One way we help individuals and organizations is through enhancing their preparation. When John F. Kennedy said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining,” in essence he was saying be prepared in body and mind. Focus and prepare now for future events. Don’t wait for turbulent times to build or work on your vision, strategy, and objectives. As Confucius said, “Success depends on previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.” So, just be prepared!