“Before flights, pilots must get a picture of the weather that is expected over the whole area that may be covered during the proposed flight.”

— Wisdom gleaned from the “Private Pilot’s Handbook of Weather”

“Always know your escape routes” is a frequent mantra when I teach people to drive.

I then engage them in a discussion of all the surprises that can happen while driving. It ranges from unexpected moves by other drivers, deer leaping into the road, larger than expected potholes, and more.

So while driving, I keep asking whoever I am teaching, “Where is your escape route?” I train them to think about what they would do if something went wrong around them. Where would they go? On clear back roads, we practice emergency braking and evasive maneuvers.

The more subtle lesson is to also plan for unexpected events on long trips. If you know what time you want to get there, you need to plan for traffic, accidents, and more. What happens if you have a flat tire on a trip where the roads are busy, and it is snowing. Do you have a spare? Do you know how to change it, or do you have an emergency roadside service? Did you leave ample time for addressing changes in weather and other unforeseen problems?

The larger and more important the projects you tackle, the larger the unexpected events and risks your project faces.

That is why I say to people I am coaching on big work adventures, “If you want success, plan for failure. You are not planning to fail. You are planning on how to get around it, leap over it, or break right through.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,

Alan Willett

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