The simple and obvious message here is, when you gotta go, you gotta go. Stop, take the opportunity, when you have it. You never know about the traffic ahead or whether you will have a flat tire. Don’t get yourself into an emergency situation. The bigger message is there are lots of parallels to this concept. When the opportunity presents itself to you, take it. It could be stopping for gas before the warning light comes on. Or, stopping to rest for the night before falling asleep at the wheel. It isn’t worth the risk. And, in business, there are parallels to not pushing the limits and taking unnecessary risks. Perhaps the bigger message is the Boy Scout motto “be prepared.” Be prepared for the toner to run out in the printer or for the printer to break. Anticipate things could keep you from completing your trip, your work, or otherwise fail to satisfy a client because you thought you could slide by at the last minute.
I plan ahead and I try to anticipate everything that could go wrong. All of the work performed by my company and me has a deadline. Some of the deadlines are imposed by the court system, others by our clients and their desire to quickly obtain our report from the research they hired us to perform, and others, by me. When working toward a deadline, one that everyone in the company is aware of, I will never understand someone’s failure to anticipate all of the things that will be required to meet the deadline, for example, having an ample supply of paper and printer ink to prepare our written report. Invariably, in the decades we have been in business, someone has forgotten to order supplies or take care of another important detail required for us to perform our work. On the rare occasions when this has happened, the deadline doesn’t change. (Imagine our client’s reaction if I said, “No, you won’t get your report on the date you need it prior to your mediation because one of my employees forgot to call the printer repair person and we have no way to print your report” or something similar!) I use checklists and other written documentation and require my employees to do the same, in an effort to ensure we don’t do anything close to “passing the rest area” because one never knows when the next rest area will be reached. In addition, because our clients’ deadlines often change and, as a result, so do ours, it pays to always be ready for what might happen when you least expect it. Get ready!