November 2011 column contained a
poem I wrote for 300 freshmen leadership students at Troy
University—“Five P’s for Leaders”—Priority, Positivity, Preparation,
Perseverance, and People. The July
2010 column was on Priority. The
December 2011 column was on
Positivity. This month’s column is on Preparation. Here are three
quotations about the importance of preparation:
is where preparation and opportunity meet.”
This quotation attributed to Bobby
Unser, the great American racecar driver who three times won the
Indianapolis 500, is so true. I often hear people say how some leader
was lucky and guessed right. Successful leaders don’t guess; they and
their associates do their homework and make decisions based on the best
information they can gather. Armed with the facts, they are ready to
act when opportunities arise.
preparation ensures tomorrow’s success.”
I searched to see who said this, but I
couldn’t find the quotation attributed to anyone; so I will claim it. I
have been either a university administrator or university professor for
over four decades and I am convinced preparation ensures success in
college, at work, and in all other areas of life. Furthermore, as a
student of leadership and communication, I know without a shadow of
doubt that leaders who are successful today, prepared yesterday.
“If you fail to
prepare, prepare to fail.”
The origin of this and similar quotations is unclear, but the truth is
indisputable. While the two previous quotations stressed the value of
preparation, this one warns what happens if a leader does not prepare.
The truth of these words is driven home by the parable of the ten
virgins who planned to attend a wedding at an undermined time. The five
wise ones prepared and took oil for their lamps; the five foolish ones
took no oil. Then they fell asleep. Suddenly at midnight the
bridegroom appeared. The five wise virgins lighted their lamps and
rushed to meet him. Having no oil for their lamps, the five foolish
ones missed the opportunity of a lifetime.
quotations stress the importance of preparation.