This website covers knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Learn from the Boy Scouts: be prepared

Be Prepared

The Boy Scout motto is "Be Prepared."  This idea shows up again and again in life and business.  For some reason, I pick up on itright away when I am reading something new or hearing new ideas about how to organize or plan or get something done.  It's usually in the form of "to succeed at _____, you must be prepared."  Examples:

  • Presentations - what are you trying to achieve, know who you are speaking to
  • Discussions - know what you are talking about, what are the expected outcomes
  • Meetings - agenda, expected outcomes
  • Projects - plan, anticipate risks, ...
  • Sales calls - purpose of the meeting, literature, sales history of this account
  • Change initiatives - know the what, where, why, who, when, and how.  Know the idea inside and out. 

Recently, this came up in the book Buy-In that I just wrote about - if you want people to buy into some change you are proposing, you must be prepared with the material.  And you must be prepared to deal with common attacks on any kind of idea.  I also heard it in the Manager Tools podcast on Introducing Managerial Change where they basically said, "If you have a good idea, give it time between when you introduce it and when you implement in order to make it the best idea and get feedback and buy-in from your staff." 

When I was getting training in supply chain management from the Goldratt Schools, this came up over and over again.  You can't just read the prepared materials.  You need to know it both academically and from your own experiences.  All of this has to come to bear as you are running through an implementation.  I learned a lot of things at those sessions five years ago, but the Be Prepared aspect still rings in my head.

[Photo: "Be Prepared" by Graeme Lawton]

Flow in product development

Buy-in - another book from Kotter