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Mar27
Plan, Prepare, Practice
I was at a community event last night. The topic of discussion was emergency preparedness and response. Since 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina, this has been a frequently discussed topic among government, education and business.

One of the speakers offered a simple recipe for emergency preparedness and response. It is..........

Plan, Prepare, Practice

This concept resonated with me as I thought about my own personal preparedness. It also seemed like excellent advice for leadership of any organization, activity or event. I also thought of the words of John C. Maxwell who noted that “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.

Leadership is rarely successful by adhering to a set of strict rules. Leaders tend to be creative and flexible, capable of balancing many competing forces. This holds true for planning, preparing and practicing. There is no secret formula. Rather, what follows are concepts that require you to think, act and assess – and use your unique experience and expertise to lead.

Plan
– The most effective leaders understand the value of proactive planning. As a leader you must set the agenda. It will be your vision and inspiration that will chart a course for your organization. Planning requires you to understand the resources you have at hand. You must assess your organizations strengths and weaknesses. Good planning makes clear who does what, how and when. It sets forth disciplined actions. Your strategic vision explains why. However, for a plan to succeed, it must be definitive yet capable of adapting to unforeseen changes that will most certainly occur.

Prepare - When I think of preparation I think of D-Day and the staging and the amassing of ships, aircraft and men that Eisenhower positioned on the British Isles. I also remember oft repeating the Boy Scouts of America Motto, “Be Prepared.” Repeating this motto reminded me that I needed to be ready to act – not just planned to act. Preparation is a key to success in any endeavor and applies action to a plan. A leader knows that a great plan dies on the vine without preparation. Leaders assure there are systems in place, people, technology and measurement tools to accomplish a plan. As Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Practice – Leaders train and provide opportunities for their followers to learn. For an athlete, practice puts into muscle memory the techniques necessary to succeed. Practice is where you learn and master your expertise. In many cases such as business, there is no practice time. Every day is game day. But there still is an opportunity to learn everyday. Effective leaders sense and respond and teach their teams to do the same. Real time evaluation and assessment of the plan, the players, the situation enables a team to improve and succeed the next day. It was Gandhi who said, “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”

The primary function of a leader is to make things happen that otherwise would not happen and to prevent things from happening that might ordinarily occur. Your leadership will inspire people to bind together to achieve common goals and aspirationsadn therefore transform your vision into reality.

The infamous football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “It is time for us to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever, the one who recognizes the challenge and does something about it.”

Is that you?

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