I traveled out of state to attend the funeral of the father of my closest friend. Everyone was hanging out at the hotel the night before, reminiscing and passing around pictures and drinks. It was nice that friends and family were sharing good times before the memorial service and funeral the next day.
Fast forward to about 6:00AM the next morning and I woke up in my hotel room with a start. Did I pack my pants? I know I brought the suit jacket, shirt and tie. Of course I packed my pants; that would be a real bonehead move not to bring them. I’ve only traveled hundreds of times for business. Back to sleep until about 7:30AM.
“Uh, buddy, I have a problem….”
I forgot my pants. It’s that moment in life when you take something for granted and it literally bites you in the bare butt. My mind began to race, because I had about three hours until the funeral. Are Walmart or Target open yet? Will I need to get a pair of Dickies or Michael Kors?
“I brought two suits. Try on the pants”.
My friend’s uncertainty about what he was going to wear to the funeral just saved my… well, you know. Fortunately, a pair of pants both fit and matched my sport jacket. No rushing around department stores or spending money needlessly required.
We take things for granted all the time. “I’ve done that a million times” is a mantra in business and life. That’s why we also have “trust, but verify”. It can be so easy to forget something critical. All of the planning in the world will not make up for a missed component. How we react is critical. In my case, my friend’s risk mitigation strategy (two suits) plugged the gap in my planning. If the pants didn’t fit, Plan B was to buy a new pair.
Next time you are planning a project or documenting the steps in a process, make sure you ask your team “Did we pack our pants?”. You will avoid flapping in the wind.
Photo courtesy of Flickr/Library of Congress under Creative Commons Licensing
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