Destiny Favors The Prepared
By: Chris Saltz
Date: August 8, 2015
You’ve found your passion. You’re extremely motivated. Now what? I recently read a book that I’d highly recommend; “The Way of the Seal: Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed”, by Mark Devine. Mark was a Colgate undergrad with an MBA from NYU, and had spent 4 years as a CPA consultant when he decided to join the Navy Seals. He finished #1 in his Seal BUD/s training class. I’m not a big fan of those books with “7 steps to this” or “5 character traits of that”, and this is not that kind of book.
What do I personally know about Mark? Nothing. But I spent 11 years in the US Navy as a Submarine Warfare Officer, 5 of those years on nuclear powered attack submarines, and had the opportunity to serve with Navy Seals (“team guys”) on joint strategic missions in the mid 90’s. A couple of my closest friends are team guys, and I can’t say enough about them. And these guys taught me one lesson;be prepared. Not 3 lessons, or 5 lessons; just one. And since this incredibly simple but insanely inspirational up close and personal lesson 20+ years ago, I regularly find myself going back to this truth. Be prepared.
Whether preparing for a meeting, learning a new technology, or “measuring twice to cut once”, I don’t feel like I can ever be “over prepared”. Being prepared for the expected is easy; getting prepared for the unexpected is the challenge. Ask tough questions like “what’s the worst thing that can happen?”; then get prepared for that. “What’s the best thing that can happen?”; am I prepared for that?
Our firm strives for the same mindset in the culture of the organization. Management always looking for an efficiency edge. Field and programming engineers learning the latest hardware & software tools (something that seems to change every 6 months). The graphic designers “want” to explore ways to hone their creative skills, not be assigned to the next training class (a BIG difference). The warrior companies today are passionate, self-motivated teams, constantly challenging each other to get prepared for “the next thing”.
It’s extremely rare to run across organizations, sports teams, businesses, and people in general that prepare like success depended on it. In his book, Mark Devine suggests asking yourself some simple questions, quickly writing down an answer, and then spending some serious time thinking about the reasons behind your answers. “What would you do if you knew you had exactly 1 year to live?”. “What would I do if I won the lottery today?”. Our firm starts every client engagement with a question; “do you believe your organization is prepared for the rapidly changing competitive landscape, the likes of which the world has never seen?”. Prepare. Destiny will favor you.