When You Fail To Plan, You Plan To Fail

“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go astray” – Robert Burns

On October 30th, 1935 at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio Boeing’s chief test pilot Leslie Tower and Army test pilot Major Ployer Peter Hill set out to test the most extraordinary prototype bomber every developed for its time, the Boeing Model 299. The Model 299 nicknamed “The Flying Fortress” was equipped with four engines, multiple gunner stations, a central bomb bay and excellent long-range flying capabilities.

Both men died that day.

Leslie Tower and Major Ployer Peter Hill lost their lives that day because of a simple mistake; they overlooked the fact that the control lock had been left in place. The control lock is a device that stops the control surfaces moving in the wind while parked prior to take-off. A simple checklist of steps would have caught their error.

That same year management and engineers at the Boing Corporation introduced the first pre-flight checklist; this is called a failsafe.

a system or plan that comes into operation in the event of something going wrong or that is there to prevent such an occurrence.

Failsafes save you time, money and potentially lives.

Much the failure that happens in our life and business is not due to the lack of planning but the inability to install proper fail-safes.

Jim Collins in his book “Great by Choice describes how in their research they discovered that 10X Companies (Meaning the best of the best) always assumed that conditions could and often do unexpectedly change, violently and fast. They are hypersensitive to changing conditions, continually asking, “What if?”

“What if” is the right question to ask all the time about everything we plan to do because the time to fix the leaky roof is when the sun is shining.

Life happens.

The furnace will break in your home; your star employee resigns and goes to work for your competitor. Heck, you might get hit by a bus.

As we develop grand plans, we must look into the future and plan for the possible unforeseen events that will crop up and try to kill the idea.

We can’t plan for everything, but we can create Failsafe’s in the major areas of our life and business to mitigate the potential derailment of our plans, goals, and strategies. 

Question: What Failsafes can you put in place even today?