When I was a little girl, I was a Girl Scout. I sold the cookies, earned the badges, embodied the principles, camped (for the first and essentially last time), and was fortunate to be a member of an organization led by a woman, who would eventually become one of my leadership heroes and a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Frances Hesselbein.
Whether you were a Girl Scout, a Boy Scout, or a member of one of the 171 national scouting organizations governed by the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), chances are you’re going to be familiar with today’s topic. And if you were not a “scout” of some nature and have zero idea of what I’m blathering on about, I guarantee you’ll get where I’m headed regardless.
The global Scout Motto is probably one of the greatest life principles, applicable in nearly any situation you’ll ever encounter.
The Scout Motto: Be Prepared.
How clear. How powerful. How I wish I could say that I always am! 🤷🏻♀️
And herein lies our topic for today.
Being prepared is often a field of inquiry that arises with my clients –
- How can I prepare myself with back-pocket questions that open dialogue in meetings, rather than shut it down?
- How can I prepare for obstacles I can not anticipate at the present?
- How can I prepare for conversations where there may be divergent strategies or agendas?
- What response can I prepare that creates time for me to gather my thoughts yet validates the urgency expressed by the other person?
Be Prepared can understandably begin to feel:
Less clear. Less empowering. Harder to say that you are.
As with most things in life, when we get into action we create impact.
When we develop responses before we need them, we reduce our stress levels greatly.
Here are some phrases and questions to consider in order to Be Prepared. Give them a try.
- “I hear your point. Let me think more about it and I’ll get back to you by “x” time today. Would that be good?”
- “Thank you for providing me with this information and the context is helpful. What is it you want and how can I help with that?”
- Be prepared for repetition. Often people aren’t clear on exactly what it is they want. Be patient with “repeaters”, they may circle until they land on something actionable. When they do, return to: “What is it you want and how can I help with that?”
- “If we were to fail, it would have been because we didn’t anticipate what?”
- “Your point is well-taken, if we worked backward from that end goal, what were the processes/steps we would have taken to get there?
- “Thank you for bringing another perspective for us to consider. Tell me more about how this gets us closer to our goal (or keeps us on track with our mission).
It may be slightly unrealistic to expect yourself to Be Prepared for any and all situations; however, when you are prepared with one thing, you can then tackle the next thing. And the next thing might be your Next Great Thing.