Have you experienced a situation which you were unprepared for, something that happened unexpectedly? Many of us have. While we may not be in a position to foresee everything that could happen, we can anticipate and prepare for some of them in the eventuality of its happening.
Take this example of a mechanic’s customer who asked him, ‘What do I do if I have a brake failure?’
The mechanic was taken aback at first, but he gave this reply. ‘Double-pump your brake pedal because sometimes it could air-lock; then, shift a gear down, if possible two in quick succession, that is from fourth to third to second – this will slow the vehicle down considerably. In the meantime, tug on the hand brake… Sound advice!
At work, several situations may take place that we are unprepared for. A power shutdown, just when you begin to make your slide presentation to the team; a customer threatening to move the consumer court against your organization; an objection raised by a prospective customer before deciding to buy your product, a virus attack on your computer or even a health emergency in a co-worker. All these situations present the need to have an alternative, a backup plan and a ready response.
In chess, the players will plan several moves ahead. At work, it's called contingency planning, preparing for an eventuality. This is not to say that we must expect the worst but anticipate obstacles or challenges and prepare to tackle them, should the need arise.
The mechanic’s customer will now drive his car without having any reason to worry because he has had the brakes checked and serviced. He is even more at ease because he knows what to do if the brakes fail, just in case.