Discipline And Preparation

“To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” – George Washington

Starting any project or major undertaking involves risk. Discipline and preparation are two key factors to mitigate any risk with any plan.

On April 19, 1775, a small militia took on great risk by standing up to the largest and most powerful military at the time with the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The American Revolution started small, but quickly grew into a larger effort engulfed with plenty of risk.

General George Washington frequently retreated from battle after battle trying to preserve what little army he had left. He tried to avoid a total loss from any one fight with the British.

A few years later in January of 1777, the Battle of Princeton showcased the leadership and tactical know-how of Washington.

The night before the battle, a handful of Continental Army soldiers maintained campfires intended to convince the British that the rebel army was still in camp further south. The ruse worked. While the British thought the Continentals were camped near Trenton, Wasthington led the majority of the Americans marching off to the northeast in silence and darkness.

Washington knew he and the Continental Army needed to turn things around. He ordered a surprise attack on the British forces at Princeton. Riding among his men and rallying them forward, Washington’s presence on the front lines boosted morale.

He knewthat action on the front lines was a must. He knew that there was an opening in the British line. He knew the importance of momentum and mindset.

“Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.” – George Washington

The size of your team is irrelevant. The size of your budget or projects are meaningless.

The quality of your mitigation strategies is not important if you lack the tactics to take care of business. The detailed list of your contingencies is useless without discipline and preparation to use them when needed.

No matter what business you are in, there is a distinct difference between practice and theory.

Your execution risk is rooted in practice. What actually works in the field? Who are your leaders riding on the front lines with you? What sort of discipline does your organization have when times are tough? How important is preparation and training for you and your team?

It is easy to “win” when things are going your way. Too often we forget to do the hard things, until the hard times show up at our door and force us to make hard decisions.

The proper way to mitigate execution risk is to have the discipline to prepare.

Seeing into the future is impossible. What is possible? Practicing now so you can win later. Training now so you can adapt later. Focusing now so you can perform later.

What is my mitigation strategy? Discipline and preparation.

“Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” – George Washington

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