Sunday, September 11, 2011

On 9/11

Many say they hate change and no doubt that is true. But who hasn't changed in the last 10 years? I have.

I have changed in ways both profound and subtle; physically and emotionally; personally and professionally. Like it or not, change is a constant in our lives.

On 9/11/01, I was a senior executive in NYC at a large international consultancy, with about 40 in my group if memory serves. Other than the occasional fire drill, perfunctorily practiced, we had absolutely no preparedness for an incident like the terror attacks that day. No escape plan, contingency plan or formal communications tree.

I like many others, lived in blissful (willful?) ignorance. Professionally, I never met a planning exercise I wouldn't run from. On 9/11 I had never felt so unprepared, so exposed. Thankfully, we were all safe from harm, and managed to not harm ourselves in the ensuing chaos. Never again, I vowed.

Today, I am Mr. Plan. I have to - at the very least - sketch out any path from A to B that I am considering, get down the to-dos and task lists and outline my SMART goals. I have learned that planning is essential to managing change and embracing the ambiguity that confronts us daily.

It's one of my learnings from 9/11. What are yours?

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