I’ll let you into a little secret about me.  I have been involved in leadership (professionally) for 40 years and I have been married for 32 years and I really, really try to avoid stuff going wrong.  I want my life to go as smoothly as possible so I can focus on doing creative things for my company, and have lots of time to have fun with my family.  However, I am realistic too – even when you are doing everything right, things can still go wrong.  (Don’t get me talking about 1992 what a year! Anything that could go wrong went wrong)

I do consider myself to be a lucky person though, in my first career my younger brother thought I had joined a Travel Company based on the attractive postings I had in the Army.  (I loved Hong Kong, Bettina was born in Berlin, I regularly got to ski in Norway and I met Joyce in Mons, Belgium).  I have two wonderful daughters who bring Joyce and me so much joy, we are very proud of them – they really are awesome.

But stuff does go wrong!  Did I mention 1992?

What prompted me to write this post was that after hearing a story on one of my Management CDs, on the way to a meeting, I felt that it mirrored my approach to doing things properly and cutting down the odds:

A ranch hand looking for a job approached a rancher for work.  The rancher said “why should I need you?”  The cowboy’s response was “I can sleep when the wind blows” The rancher wasn’t sure what that meant but hired him anyway.  One night there was a storm and the rancher rushed down to the stables to find the ranch hand a sleep.  He looked around to find everything fastened down and the horses’ safely tethered and secure.  He had anticipated the storm and prepared.

I wanted to share with you some of my tactics for cutting down the odds of stuff going wrong:

My 5 top tips on cutting down the odds:

  1. You can’t always predict people’s behaviour but you can recognise patterns – what are these behaviour patterns telling you
  2. Sweat the small stuff! There is so much you can prevent if you recognise potential problems when they are relatively small in their nature – nip it in the bud before they become big
  3. Take responsibility for every part of your life – you can delegate but you remain accountable – maintain a grip.
  4. Live your life properly. If the offer or opportunity is too good to be true – it is!
  5. Anticipate Anticipate. Don’t live your life reacting

We can’t predict the future but if you start doing things properly now you can sleep when the wind blows. 

So stuff to do for your Work:

  1. The other day I heard two possible scenarios that could happen in my field of work in the next few years, both polar opposite scenarios from two different sources. So my main focus continues to be to build business models that can cope now with whatever the future will hold
  2. Don’t wait, do it now. Don’t wait to have everything in place before you act.
  3. “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans is useless, but planning is indispensable” Dwight D Eisenhower.
  4. Have a ‘playbook’ a set of rules or suggestions that are considered to be suitable for a particular activity, industry, or job.
  5. Define your culture – how things are done around here and then make sure everyone knows what it is and keeps talking about it! This is my take on ‘culture’ https://leadershipintheraw.org/2016/03/01/the-culture-within-you/

Your daily life tips that cut down the odds of stuff going wrong today and in the future:

  1. Put those who are significant in your life (for me it is my wife and daughters) before you. There is always someone much bigger than you!
  2. Spend less money than your income (save 10%)
  3. Do what you can today as you don’t know what is going to hit you tomorrow morning. Don’t put stuff off
  4. Start each day with a mental & physical checklist – what should be on it?
  • check your diary – so you know when and where you need to be
  • check your routes – traffic news
  • check the weather for the day ahead
  • check your phone and email – has important and urgent stuff come through the night?
  1. Short cuts rarely are – so don’t take them
  2. Live your life with integrity and honesty. Live by your code of behaviour and values (every day!)


Discipline Discipline (I can’t say that word enough) it brings order and structure to your life.  Discipline sets you free!  (to do more and be more)

Do all this and I guarantee you will limit stuff going wrong like they did for me in 1992.  I don’t have enough space in this post to go into details – you will have to ask me when you next see me.