Tuesday, February 15, 2011

P for Preparation

Whether it’s a small birthday party for my 6 year old, or a marriage gathering of about 500 people…whether it’s a team picnic or a product launch event…one thing that goes un-observed is the preparation that goes into it. But invariably the events where more preparation goes in…seem to turn out stellar. It’s a direct relationship.

There’s really no substitute for preparation, even if it’s something that you do on a daily basis…like participating in a design meeting. If you spend an extra 10 minutes prior to the meeting, a day before or right before the meeting, your contribution to that event will be much higher and perhaps it can lead to a better result for everybody.

Sad part is, that we see lack of preparation everywhere…from people who show up to a meeting not really knowing what’s the agenda is to the worse kind of offence, people conducting meetings without any agenda. It leaves no chance of preparation for anybody.

We see roads being dug for laying of pipes and then pipes not arriving for days, while hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people pay the price of bad traffic and higher blood pressure.

Personally, I have better days when I spend 20 mins to half an hour, first thing in the morning to prepare for the day or two ahead. There are many unknowns, but that only means that there are many known items too. There will never be a case, when you know exactly what is supposed to happen in that day…if you did, consider a career in astrology. You can prepare only so much, but knowing what you know, will always help in figuring out what you don’t know.

Key part of Preparation is warming up…it gets your body and mind into a somewhat higher state to take on what’s coming up next. Warm up is just a natural thing to do. Every physical activity requires a good warm up…although it’s the same body, it seems to perform at a higher level, once it’s warmed up.

Besides warming up, preparation is also about making sure you have the right tools and details required. If you look ahead, you may be able to gather the required data before hand and hence make the most of the occasion.

None of this is unknown really, and we all prepare. But we tend to keep preparation as a special activity before something BIG…however, your 90% of time will be spent in activities which are ‘not so big’, and there’s no reason why you wouldn’t want to be as successful in making those small successes. In fact, small daily dose of successes is what keeps the usual workday very satisfying.

As simple as it sounds, preparation is not easy…I’m still working on it. My 20 mins a morning has served well…What works for you? Please share…