Expect the unexpected!

So what did I learn when bombs literally fell on our parade? That night I wrote in my journal after I related the events: “Expect the unexpected!!” No one predicted the enemy would attack Karzai, the various ambassadors and generals, during a parade, in the middle of Kabul, for heaven’s sake! After deeper reflection, it was clear that we had a massive failure of imagination based on a propensity to concentrate on what the enemy had done before. We failed to plan for the unexpected, which meant we were not ready when the unexpected happened. As they say, the enemy (or the competition) always gets a vote. And sometimes it’s the weather, the terrain, the stock market, or a catastrophe such as a pandemic that brings the unexpected.

What to do about it? Here are some thoughts:

  • Ensure you seek out advisors that aren’t afraid to challenge you or the status quo, and actively consider their analysis. Yes, plan for the most likely course of action (be it yours or the competition), but also spend some time planning for the improbable, but possible course.
  • Always ensure you can mitigate improbable but possible events: I wonder how many businesses prior to the COVID pandemic had insurance coverage for pandemics? I bet many will seek it out in the future!
  • Foot stomp: Anticipate the unexpected! Focus on possibilities, not just probabilities! Plan for options!

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