Dealing with the Unexpected

by Wiz

in Lessons,Podcasts

If you were to write down a list of the top 10 qualities that an “ideal” leader would possess, and then rank them in order of importance, where would you put “able to deal with the unexpected”?  Would it be in the top 5?  Would it even be on your list?

I got into a discussion with a friend of mine recently about this.  He was saying that a good leader, once he has made his decision, has to keep focused on his goal (or strategy) and not let himself be deterred from it.  I told him I agreed with him – to a point.  But there’s a difference between putting on the blinders and ignoring everything else.

When any plan – military, business, or personal – gets put into action, sooner or later it’s going to bump up against “reality”.  Things are going to happen – some are expected, some are anticipated, and some are just plain surprises.  (There’s an old saying in the military that “no plan survives contact with your adversary.”)  Where I differed with my friend is that a good leader doesn’t – can’t – IGNORE these things, but rather has to adapt to them. 

In the early 1950s Captain Mitsuo Fuchida wrote an account of the Battle of Midway (WWII) from the point of view of the Imperial Japanese Navy.  In it he recounts an anecdote which illustrates my point.  (3:28)

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