Preparedness: The critical key to success

  • Published
  • By Col. Ronald Crosby
  • 354th Maintenance Group commander
Funny if you think about it; how many times you use the word "prepare." You can prepare food, prepare for a test, prepare for an argument, prepare for combat, etc. It seems like it is such a widely used, common word, and yet, so few people actually PREPARE when they should. 

Living here in Alaska, you know that the winters are going to be bitterly cold. So what do you do to prepare? You stock up on warm winter clothing, get hats, gloves, scarves and any other kind of outerwear. You make sure your kids are completely covered before letting them go outside. Your snow blower is sitting right next to the garage door, full of gas and oil and ready to go. 

In the summer, you prepare by getting the grill out from under the deck, stocking up on bug spray, and gassing up the lawn mower. You take the opportunity to get some of that wood that was buried in snow under the deck to the wood rack, in preparation for the upcoming winter. 

On a daily basis, you prepare for emergencies by keeping certain articles in your car, like jumper cables, bottled water, candle, flares, etc. You do the same things when you go camping. You check all the sleeping bags, make sure the mini grill is packed, get the food packed away and make sure there is enough clothing for the length of your trip. You pile all of these things into your already-prepared vehicle and head out. You even remember to bring your car cell phone charger and your phone! 

So what is my point here? With all this preparedness that we do on a daily or regular basis, why is it that so many people are ill-prepared for a day at work? 

Before you leave to go to work, do you check to make sure your uniform is clean and pressed? Do you grab your line badge, wallet, keys, common access card and other important items? Is your hair within standards? Do you get to work and make sure that all your tools are in the correct place (whether those tools are equipment, computers, batteries, or whatever)? Do you follow the guidelines of your job description? Do you even KNOW your job description? (You'd be surprised how many people do not know.) Have you eaten a good meal before going in to work so that you are ready and able to perform at your best? 

How many of you have gone into a place of business and not even been greeted or told, "Just a moment please?" Have you had the frustration of going to these places time and again because they just "can't get it right the first time?" Don't you hate it when you get out to the flightline in all your winter gear and your co-worker has forgotten his job guide and you have to drive or walk all the way back to the support section again? It's even worse when your buddy goes out and gets himself drunk and then drives back to base, obviously not taking the time to PREPARE for a designated driver ahead of time. That person may make all of you in your organization have to perform duty outside of your normal workplace. You think it's not fair and you're right. 

Think about yourself before you criticize these folks. Yes, it's aggravating when people "don't have their act together" when it's what they do for a living. But before you get too upset, look in the mirror. Have YOU been prepared to do your job every day? Have you been "meaning" to get around to something for a while and just keep putting it off? If someone were to come to your office or place of work today and ask for something, would you be able to do/get it for them? If so, congratulations! You are prepared and ready for action. 

If not, maybe it's time to take a good hard look at what you do day to day. If you research any successful employee, whether they be military, civilian, blue collar or white collar, you will find that each of these people have been prepared. They've prepared for their interviews, and have prepared their equipment/tools/paperwork, etc., to make sure they're in working order. They have prepared themselves for the worst, so that they are always ready and know what to do and have the tools to do it. The phrases "just in case" and "better safe than sorry" aren't just phrases. If you forget to bring your umbrella, doesn't it seem like the chance of rain increases? It's the same thing with your job. 

If you prepare yourself for your job the way you prepare for other aspects of your life, you will find it very rewarding. Not only for yourself, but for those around you who count on you to do YOUR part. Just think if everyone would do that, we could go into that place of business, ask for something, and GET IT! Now, wouldn't that make life a little easier?