It’s a common saying, and we’ve all heard it. Expect the unexpected. Be prepared. I’m getting a vivid illustration of the importance of this phrase today.
I’m stranded with thousands of my friends at the Portland International Airport. Somehow, the planes have no fuel. Whether it’s due to a power outage from last night’s rain or not, every plane is stranded – along with thousands of people here in the terminal and hundreds stuck on planes on the tarmac. The machine that supplies the fuel for all of the airlines is out. The Starbucks line is almost a hundred deep, and I am laying on the floor and pondering business.
I don’t really think this is a failure of technology. Instead, it is a human failure. Yes, it may be hard to predict that this exact situation could have happened, but that’s a part of leadership. It’s not only about looking future forward, but also about planning thoroughly for today. Goals and aspirations are great, but if something unexpected happens that closes your business or worse, you aren’t going to achieve that goal.
You cannot predict what each day will bring. What you can do is take a look at the critical dependencies in your business – employees, capital, market conditions, fuel for airplanes – and plan around protecting those.
That didn’t happen for the Portland Airport. This is a failure of leadership, not technology. Don’t let it happen to your business.