I am writing this sequel to last week's topic on the flight back from my motor cycle trip around SW Spain.
A number of the 'inevitables' happened as predicted, getting lost, tired, irritable. I immediately recognised the symptoms as 'inevitable' and brought in my predefined strategies. Of course being overheated, lost and tired in a foreign land, where you do not speak the language, is an issue but the remedy is naturally not that difficult. My contingency for such matters, is to recognise the cause (driving too long, a lack of water and an over optimistic ambition to arrive at the pre-defined destination an hour earlier). So all I do is suggest that we pull our bikes over to the side of the road and have a short break. Sitting under a tree to cool off for a while. Taking even a 60 seconds timeout with eyes closed and all thoughts of being lost etc removed form one's consciousness, helps tremendously. A fresh look at the map and a re-confirmation as to the position of the sun, versus the time of day, and very quickly, the correct location can be identified and a new plan made. It's all a question of recognising the symptoms early and reminding yourself of what your pre-defined strategy is for any such predicted event.
In my professional life, I try to do the same. Any experienced manager should anticipate that 'unplanned variances' can (and probably will) occur. This is not to excuse them. Sloppy scope analysis and preparation will always result in an increased amount of 'unforeseens'. But here we are talking more about the 'foreseeable'. The trick is to keep the team focused and together, when they arrive (during the period of uncertainty, and to ensure that your sponsors are only briefed once you have identified the cause and at least two possible remedy plans.
So back to the holiday… Did it achieve it's objectives? Were it's goals accomplished? The answer is an unequivocal 'yes'! 😉