Prepare for what you can’t predict

The capacity to bounce back after a set back: resilience is such a hot topic across the business world.

In our last blog we drew attention to the resilient nature of comedians. This week, we are thinking about adaptability.

Crystal balls and black swans

It’s impossible to predict the shape or size of your organisation’s next set back. But you can think about and plan for potential issues. Being prepared isn’t the same as knowing what’s coming. It’s about having the capacity to manage – to adapt – to whatever’s thrown at you. Especially the things you don’t know about. The Black Swans.

Goalkeepers and penalty kicks

We drew on the rehearsed and improvisational skills of comedians last week to illustrate aspects of resilience.  Let us now think about football goalkeepers.

They know penalties are a possibility; but they don’t know when, which game, or who the penalty taker will be.  They train for the generic possibility. And they draw on a combination of imaginal, mental and physical capacities to adapt and react to the unfolding reality of the penalty kick.

And when it is over, they rejoice or they pick themselves up, re-focus and press-on with the game.

The 7 Ps

Organisational life may not have quite such binary outcomes. Sometimes, of course, it does. Whatever, we believe that resilience has a lot to do with preparation.

In fact we are pretty clear that the old adage, oft used in the military, of Prior Planning & Preparation Prevents Piss-Poor Performance lies at the heart of resilience. We are also pretty clear that Planning & Preparation does not just centre on a single “Plan A”. It is about planning and preparing the capacity to operate simultaneously on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels.

Dave Stewart
Managing Director
The Fresh Air Learning Company Ltd