Never expect that things will go as planned. Always be prepared to handle problems, changes and any crisis that may arise. Do all you can to walk into any situation with as much preparation and information as possible so that you are able to make the best, most well informed decisions on a moment’s notice.
- Practice makes perfect.
When we landed in the Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam, the United States had not yet had a major conflict with the North Vietnamese. However, my men had been preparing to go to war all along so they were trained to face any situation. Not only that, they were prepared for the idea that we may take on casualties, some of the first of that long war, and had trained their men to know the job above them and below them.
Know as much as possible about what you are up against whether it is your competition, audience, or a new piece of equipment. Whenever possible, do a recon of the battlefield, of the auditorium if you are giving a speech, etc. to make sure you have everything you need and that everything is in working order.
- Consider the “what ifs”
When you draw up a plan of attack, or for defense of a position, you have information on weather, the terrain and enemy capabilities BUT you cannot coordinate your plan with the enemy. Therefore, think through all the “what if’s”—“what if” the enemy does this—or that, “what if” this or that happens. This is time well spent.
- Prepare for the worst
- Have a system for stress
- There’s Nothing Wrong Except There’s Nothing Wrong
During times when everything seems to be in order, that is often when you need to have your guard up the highest. Always take time to think, “What am I doing that I should not be doing?” and, “What am I not doing that I should be doing to influence the situation in my favor?”