Is Lack Of Preparation Adding To Your Pressure?

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Twenty-seven minutes and fifty-five seconds.

That’s the time I had to hit—exactly—every week for fifteen years.

27:55. Not a second more. Not a second less. 27:55.

Welcome to the world of television production, where the clock is your master. You’re always aware of it. You go on the air at 11:30pm, every Saturday, whether you’re ready or not. Whether you feel like it or not. And, exactly twenty-seven minutes and fifty-five seconds later, you fade to black. Every week.

You’ve felt the pressure of the clock too, haven’t you? The pitch meeting to the prospective client begins at 8:30am, and you have five minutes to make your case. Your negotiation in Hong Kong has to be completed—successfully—by 3pm on Thursday so you can make your flight to London. You have to be finished cleaning your house by 9:59am because the house cleaner gets there at 10. (Yeah, I know. I never quite got that one either.)

Whatever your particular scenario, you have to produce under pressure, and the clock is ticking.

So how do you do it?

One of the tricks I learned during those fifteen years of television production was to have a Plan B.

My Plan B was a pre-taped comedy piece, about a minute to ninety seconds long. I tried to have one of these scheduled during the last segment of the show each week. This was my safety net. See, we taped our show in front of a live studio audience, and we never knew exactly how much they would laugh. Generally, they laughed a lot, so we would run long. But I was okay with that because I knew that I could always drop my Plan B piece. I had a few other “producer tricks” up my sleeve, but this was the big one.

And because I knew I had the Plan B option, the pressure diminished. Yes, there was still pressure. But because I had thought through the “what if” scenarios and come up with options, I was prepared.

And preparation mitigates pressure.

Preparation mitigates pressure. #ProducingUnderPressure #Leadership Click To Tweet

So what are your “what if” scenarios? If you don’t know them off the top of your head, you need to take an hour and start thinking.

  • What if our primary supplier goes out of business?
  • What if a storm grounds the airplane?
  • What if the house cleaner shows up early?

Then, for each of your “what ifs,” come up with one or two Plan Bs. One or two safety nets. One or two tricks you can have up your sleeve, just in case.

Because with preparation comes peace of mind. And when you have to produce under pressure—when the clock is ticking—peace of mind can be a very good friend.

With #preparation comes peace of mind. #ProducingUnderPressure #Leadership Click To Tweet

About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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