Being Prepared

  • Pradeep Pavuluri
  • |
  • Founder & CEO, Cognine Technologies

I went trekking couple of months ago in the Himalayas, and we all know that the air gets thinner as we gain altitude and our body can’t operate at same efficiency. Apart from lower oxygen levels, trekking includes physical activities that we don’t usually make part our fitness routines.

I was chatting with our trek leader, as we were walking uphill on rugged path, on how one could prepare better for these kind of treks (as a lot of us were struggling with every step we take.) He bluntly said “One can never be prepared for these kind of activities. You just get here and do it.” I was taken back by his statement.

We spend a lot of time planning and preparing for a project. Past experience, skills, training, discipline, etc. are what I see as preparing to execute a project well. Does that guarantee success? Maybe that’s what the trek leader meant when he said that once can never be (100%) prepared.
If that’s the case, how much preparation is needed?

Experts suggests a workout program to be “prepared” for the trek. Every project manager brings in a team with right skills, training, and experience to be “prepared” for the project. Every trek in different. Every project is different. Apart from the evident attributes (for trek, these would be altitude, number of days, sleeping conditions, etc. and for project, these would be budget, timelines, scope, etc.) there are several other attributes that may not allow us to be 100% ready.

A sudden snowstorm during a trek can throw all plans out of the window. A team member with key business knowledge being unavailable unexpectedly may put the project in jeopardy. Sudden changes in exchange rates because of political instability can ruin the budget plans on a global project. There could be several reasons why things can go out of track.

In spite of “one can never be 100% prepared”, we still need to prepare with the information we have in hand and anticipate some of the challenges (risk management). 80% preparation will give us the drive and motivation to push it to 100% during execution. A mere 20-30% preparation will not give us a chance to make it over the hill.

With enough training, our bodies adjust very quickly to lower oxygen levels and our lungs will be able to work efficiently in thin air as well. Similarly, we can get our teams can adjust quickly and get the project back on track if we plan and prepare well.

A well prepared individual/team can face those risks/challenges and execute the trek/project, in spite of unexpected challenges.

While we may never be 100% prepared, give it your best shot (genuinely) at training/preparing and executing and the chances of succeeding will be high.