Snow. It’s like life. No matter how much you plan for it, it still manages to thwart and disrupt. I’m sitting at my office window watching the previous day’s deep snow turn from fascinating soft drifts into slush and ice. A leaking gutter is causing drips to splash onto the window ledge.
A client who started her first learning and development role last year, told me about the staff conference she had run just before Christmas. It was her first time holding the reins and she had organised a beautiful venue with a packed agenda of discussion and workshops, as well as transport for all staff from the Head Office. She made all the practical arrangements and at the same time designed a Communication workshop to run on the day with a colleague.
Determined to run a slick event, she had files and plans for everything. The post-it note had taken over her desk and checklists were pinned to the wall. Even when a virus laid her low, she was still emailing from her bed, sneezing into her tissues and making sure that everything was still on track.
On the day, she was at the venue early, checking the rooms, food menu, handouts and cable facilities for laptops…….. She had everything in hand.
With 15 minutes to spare she received a phone call from the coach driver who was bringing the Head Office participants. “There’s a width restriction in the lane. I can’t bring the coach through”. Suddenly, she was thrown. Within seconds her mind had gone from “What width restriction?” to “The whole day is ruined”.
Of course, it was sorted out quite quickly. The venue manager reassured the coach driver that the restriction was still big enough for a coach to drive through and the driver delivered his passengers safely.
“By the end of that day, I was so exhausted, running the event and running sessions, making sure everything went exactly to plan, that I almost vowed to change my job.”
It struck me that we all have those moments when we go into a tail spin whether it’s a project going awry or snow trapping you at home for the day. We can’t plan for everything but we can plan to be creative and ready for the unexpected.