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February 23, 2011

Out Prepare to Out Perform

Prepare

Jeff Cochran

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The Seven Prep Steps of the Preparation Planner:

1.      Precedents

2.      Alternatives

3.      Interests

4.      Deadlines

5.      Strengths and Weaknesses

6.      Highest Goal/Walk Away Position

7.      Strategy and Team

The Preparation Checklist or Preparation Planner was created to serve as a tool for people from all walks of life to deal with the pressure of the everyday challenges they face. The inspiration for the eight-step Checklist came from the Checklist that pilots have used for the last 40 years.

Have you ever gotten on a plane and watched the pilots as they prepare for a flight?  Now we all know they know how to fly a plane – yet if you look up front they have their heads in an instruction book (“check, check, check”).  That’s the pilots’ checklist. I ask pilots whether they know how to fly – “want to be sure doing it right”, even when they’re under pressure.

Who could forget the February, 2009 emergency plane landing in the Hudson River? Certainly the pilot, Chesley Sullenberger, and the crew of U.S. Airways flight 1549 were under the ultimate pressure when that flight’s engines went out.  Obviously, Sullenberger’s experience and temperament played a major role in saving the lives of 154 people. He described his emotions as a combination of, “calm on the outside, turmoil inside.” But it is also worth noting that the co-pilot, Jeffrey Skiles and the crew did a run through of the Emergency checklist for just this kind of situation….The Checklist played a major roll in getting them through the extreme pressure of the situation.

A preparation checklist can only help you better achieve your goals, especially in times of serious pressure. Chesley Sullenberger is a hero today because of preparation and planning. The lesson here: Out prepare to out perform.

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