Planning and Preparing Like a Professional

Even the worst plan executed in a timely manner with conviction is more than likely enough to resolve a real world problem. Don’t discount the importance of proactive planning and preparing.

Holiday Shopping Planning & Preparation
(Photo by Getty Images)

Planning At The Last Minute

When I talk about planning and preparing it comes across as a complicated event. It really isn’t as complicated as you might think. It becomes easier the more you practice. Your planning doesn’t half to be as if you plan on storming the castle gates. What is more important is the practice of planning on the fly. Yes, you probably will sit down and lay out a bold and detailed plan about how you will go shopping during the Christmas rush. You take the time to study where you will park, what stores you will avoid, the route you take to your objective and how much time you will spend on target. But, once you get there, you need to adapt and adjust your plan in real time.

Full Dress Rehearsals 

Preparation is the right hand to planning. All the planning in the world will do you little good if you don’t put the time to prepare. Your preparation is where you learn how well you planned. One of the biggest lessons I learned in my Naval career was the importance of rehearsals. How we would spend hours, sometimes days planning. We would conduct a full dress rehearsal then return and debrief. Before I knew it, the original plan was barely recognizable. It had been altered as a result of the rehearsal. Without these dirt dives as we called them you fail to account for the obvious that were overlooked in your planning.

Failing To Plan Is Planning to Fail

During our planning we would come up with contingencies for just about everything. Every stage of the operation would have a multitude of backup and redundant actions. There were always three options that were related to the mission; minor, major and catastrophic. As we reviewed our plan, we would discuss a minor problem and how to react. Then a major problem that might require additional resources and lastly a catastrophic issue that could result in mission failure. You probably don’t need to go that in-depth into your planning and preparation for Christmas shopping. You should still consider three options. There are a lot of different outcomes and it is impossible to plan for everything. The least you can do is anticipate some of the more obvious ones.

Movement Is Life

Running is a natural survival instinct. It has served our species for a very long time. However, running for the sake of running is not often ideal. On top of that, how good a shape are you in and what is your responsible cargo. You may find running is not your best option, but it is still an option. Better to think of running as moving, we want to move and preferable move with a purpose. I’m moving to get out of sight, or moving to get to cover.

The Reasons To Move

There are a lot of reasons to move, one of the big reasons is to move out of site. When we discuss the difference between cover and concealment a lot of times we over emphasize cover. We also forget cover is always temporary. If you can find a way to obscure your location it might be the best option whether it will stop bullets or not. If they cannot see you, they may not know to shoot in that direction. Whenever possible, always be looking for your next piece of cover. Where can I move to next that will help me get further from danger.

Fighting Is Not Always The Last Option

Your movement and your cover may have only bought you time. The hope is it allowed you to shift the balance in your favor. Maybe you are in a better position to defend, maybe you have extended the distance making it less effective. Whatever the case, you are always trying to make your situation better. However, there may come a time when your movement and cover no longer increase your survival. Now it is time to fight. While seemingly a last resort, fighting can be utilized during movement and from cover. The hope is when all of your options have been exhausted you have a better position to fight from to increase your survival.

As I move through this world, I’m creating hasty plans at every turn. Whether behind the wheel, walking the dog or in my own home. I have a hasty plan that considers movement, cover and fighting as the most likely options.

2 thoughts on “Proactive Planning and Preparing

  1. Oscar Lee James III says:

    Jeff, I’ve been remiss in commenting lately, even if only to say “thanks.” Looking forward to seeing you this year at TACCON and 12 Labors. I like that you stared this message with a thought from Patton.

    When my children were young, I would tell them to “open your eyes and see the world around you.” Think of it as the civilian version of situational awareness. We all teach our children to make plans, even though that may not be our conscious purpose. We tell them to stop and look both ways before crossing the street, for example.

    It wasn’t until I was in the Army that I was introduced to the concept of planning on the fly. Operations orders, warning orders, fragmentary orders. Contingencies, options, and OODA.

    Once again, you have helped frame the knowledge I have in ways that I can express. I’ll be sharing this with my sons when next we get together.

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