One goal of leadership at all levels is to provide the team or organization a living example of how to be successful. The right strategy as a company, government organization, or non-profit is important to be successful, however, so are the right leadership skills as a team leader and the right ethics for your team to follow. Your everyday actions are also important examples for your team. An everyday action a successful leader should unleash is the power of preparation and practice. The importance of preparation cannot be overstated. Preparation can help you and your team avoids pitfalls in the future across all facets of a company’s business. “Preparation can never guarantee success, but the lack of preparation can certainly increase your propensity toward failure” (Llopis, 2014). In times like we are living through today, we will certainly see that the companies that were most prepared to survive will be the one that is standing at the end of the day.
Preparation is a mindset and not just a list of activities you do each morning before your second cup of coffee. An example is a benefit you gain by watching and listening to your employees. If you only lead from thirty thousand feet level, you lose the ability to see what is going on the ground. Unless you come down to ground level, you will have a hard time knowing that things may be dysfunctional even though it seems like work is getting done. There are many times your team members won’t actively tell you if they need additional support or tools, and if you are flying too high you won’t know that your team is ready to fall apart. Keep a pulse on your team so that you are prepared to respond to what’s coming down the pipeline in order to continue to meet customers’ expectations.
Another way to exemplify an attitude of preparedness is by continually refining your own leadership and business skills. There will always be an evolution in business practices. One guaranteed way to fall behind is to continue doing the same thing you are doing today. Competitors will race by you like they are in the Daytona 500 if you don’t continue to prepare yourself with the latest information. Push yourself to take a class, participate, or lead an HR training for your company, keep up with what is going on in your industry, and regularly read about developments that may impact your business. Developing trends generally come from these areas: societal shifts, technological development, environmental concerns, economic ups and downs, legislative process, and judicial decisions. Preparedness comes through upgrading your skills, but also by anticipating shifts in the business environment.
Another great tool for preparing for the future is a failure. Failing, with the appropriate attitude, can lead to some of the greatest breakthroughs in your business. Most of us have heard the quote from Thomas Edison who had many failed attempts trying to invent the lightbulb, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” (Daum, 2016). Failure can lead to stagnation and lack of inspiration but with the right attitude, it is an essential tool to prepare yourself for future success.
The other aspect that enhances the power of preparation comes through practice. Practice in this context is the “performance (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency” (Yahoo! Online Dictionary, 2020). Practice comes in many forms such as practicing a presentation that you’ll be sharing. A well-practiced presentation is usually a well-received presentation. Practice can be keeping up on your coding skills if you are an engineer at heart, or maybe going to the shooting range if you are on a police force. Keeping in practice with the basic skills needed to be effective, keeps you sharp and connected to the business and your people.
Use the power of preparation and practice to ensure your organization is a high performing team and you will always be ready to adapt and grow with the changing needs of the company. Speaking of the ability to adapt and grow, here’s another quote from Thomas Edison, “Be courageous. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has emerged from these stronger and more prosperous. Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward!” (Daum, 2016)
For the Faith-Based:
Certain Bible stories emphasize the importance of preparation. One such account comes to us from the Old Testament where Joseph was able to interpret a dream that God gave to the Pharaoh. The dream was a forewarning that Egypt was going to experience a famine in the near future. Because of Joseph’s ability to trust and see God’s message within Pharaoh’s dream, Joseph was awarded the high position of being in charge of all of Egypt, including the preparations that Egypt would undertake to survive the famine.
“During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure” (Genesis 41:47-49). The famine soon came upon the land of Egypt but due to the preparations that Joseph had overseen, not only was Egypt able to survive the famine as a country but, Egypt had a surplus to ration throughout the world. “When all Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, ‘Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.’ When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. And all the countries came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the world” (Genesis 41:55-57).
Here are two important takeaways. First, Joseph had a plan and for seven years collected surplus grain that would be critical for surviving the famine during the following seven years. Preparation clearly saved Egypt, and the world, much suffering and is a major key to success. Second, Joseph was seeking and listening to God’s voice. To better prepare for what’s to come, we need to take time for prayer and seek God’s wisdom. What better way is there to be truly prepared for what is to come than by hearing from God Himself?
Daum, K. (2016, February 11). 37 Quotes From Thomas Edison That Will Inspire Success. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/kevin-daum/37-quotes-from-thomas-edison-that-will-bring-out-your-best.html
Llopis, G. (2014, November 22). Preparation For Effective Leadership Begins With 5 Simple Rules. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2014/09/09/preparation-for-effective-leadership-begins-with-5-simple-rules/#39b91ba56014