I’m a pretty organized guy. I like to plan things ahead and stick to that plan. I have a tendency to freak out when things don’t go according to plan.
So a few weeks ago was a little stressful for me. I was leading our volunteer orientation meeting, going through our emergency procedures. As I started talking through what to do when the power goes out the power went out.
I’m not making this up.
At first I thought it was just where we were at (our orientation class meets in some trailers on the back of our church campus). It’s not uncommon for things to go wrong there. So I just laughed it off.
After the class I realized it was several city blocks that were out of power. So I started going around to all of our areas to make sure everyone was OK. This happened at 9:30am during our 9am service so it wasn’t like it was pitch black. But when you’re dealing with hundreds of kids and dozens of leaders a black out at nine in the morning can still be a big deal.
Our team handled it well. Watching them respond was like watching a play-by-play of the procedures I had just been talking through at the orientation meeting. Everyone knew just what to do and they did it well.
It reminded me of an important leadership principle I see a lot of leaders forget:
Have a plan for when things don’t go according to plan.
What do you do when the power goes out?
What do you do when there’s an earthquake?
Who takes over when you’re main speaker doesn’t show or calls off sick at the last minute?
What’s the procedure when a child goes missing?
As planned out as I am I don’t have a plan for every single thing that can go wrong. Nobody can. But having a plan for when the big things don’t go according to plan (and they will from time to time) will help you handle them well.