Create A “Go To Hell” Plan to Help Survive Your Next Crisis Reply

PlanningBy Chris Simmons

From my earliest days in the military, I was taught to always have a plan. It made sense. After all, if something is worth the investment of your precious resources (i.e., time, talents, and treasures), it merits a well thought-out roadmap to success.

But it didn’t stop there. “Your adversary has a vote” we were told, or more emphatically – “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” To offset our foe’s “vote,” we needed to create a “Plan B” (also known as a “back-up” or “alternative plan”). The purpose of Plan B was to have a viable option when the unexpected occurred.

Then they forced us to develop a contingency for when the seemingly unimaginable occurred. This contingency, known throughout the military as a “Go To Hell” plan, forced us to consider and plan for nightmare scenarios. Saddam Hussein got schooled in this concept a week into the 2003 invasion of Iraq when, with all his military forces fighting in the south, a brigade of US paratroopers unexpectedly jumped into northern Iraq. He lost control of the entire northern third of the nation immediately.

Note to self — luck and hope are not planning factors.

We enhanced the value of our plans by role playing through all three scenarios: the most likely, the supposedly less likely, and then the improbable. The mere act of visualizing the “what ifs” better prepared us for a range of situations, not just the ideal one. This de facto rehearsal also had a calming effect. When we needed to jump from Plan “A” to Plan “B” (or worse), we already knew the key planning issues: who, what, when, where, why, and how. This familiarity bred confidence and reduced stress.

That said, we always kept in mind that our personal experiences and biases skewed what we considered to be possible and probable. We knew we could still misread our adversary. This awareness helped reduce the impact of the shock anytime we were surprised.

Finally, a plan need not be perfect. A good plan well executed now is infinitely better than the perfect plan too late.

I quickly grasped that this planning methodology wasn’t just for the military. It is applicable and relevant to everyone’s personal and professional lives as well. Job relocations, births, deaths, accidents, illnesses, promotions, marriages, divorces, financial ups & downs….the list is endless. Life is unpredictable and demanding. Planning adds clarity and reduces anxiety. Life happens, be ready for it.

Nicholas Christakis: The Hidden Influence of Social Networks Reply

We’re all embedded in vast social networks of friends, family, co-workers and more. Nicholas Christakis tracks how a wide variety of traits — from happiness to obesity — can spread from person to person, showing how your location in the network might impact your life in ways you don’t even know.

The Discipline of Finishing: Conor Neill 1

If you had 1000 Euro and you could invest that money in someone’s future, who would you bet on? Is it yourself? Conor Neill, from Spain’s Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa (IESE) Business School, illustrates how to self apply the three criteria Warren Buffett uses to choose the people in which he trusts with his investments.

How & Why Sporting Events Transformed Into Theatrical Productions Reply

An eternal fan favorite -- an air cannon firing T-shirts into the stands

An eternal fan favorite — an air cannon firing T-shirts into the stands

By Chris Simmons

Readers of Human Chess are familiar with my position that all communication is theater. Recently, I realized that this perspective holds true in other arenas as well.

I attended a Major League Baseball game after a decades- long hiatus and almost immediately was intrigued by the way baseball is, in many regards, less of a sporting event than full-blown theater.

The “show” began with a pre-game picnic at PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. As we made our way to our seats, we passed countless souvenir stands and bars where socializing continued. Game time arrived and the real theatrics started: air cannons firing T-shirts into the stands, mascot races around the infield, the always popular “kiss cam,” the seventh-inning stretch and the fans’ thunderous rendition of “Take me out to the ballgame,” the entertaining antics of the food vendors, televised contests between fans and ballplayers, the end-of-game fireworks, and so forth.

The theatrical aspects reshaped the game from a spectator sport into a full-blown participatory experience. Had it simply been about the game, the fans would have watched it from home. Instead, it truly was about making memories – the camaraderie of friends, the smell of hot dogs and popcorn on a cool summer afternoon, the hope of scoring a T-shirt, etc. In short, it was a great performance by two great teams – but one made possible in large measure by a very enthusiastic and engaged support staff. Well done Pirates – you delivered an experience I and many others look forward to repeating. After all, wasn’t that the intent?

Being Alone Together Reply

ElevatorWhy are humans so reluctant to communicate in public with strangers?

Published on August 4, 2014 by Romeo Vitelli, Ph.D. in Media Spotlight

Why are humans so reluctant to communicate in public?

Yes, we’re all social creatures with friends and family that we interact with on a daily basis, but what happens when you’re surrounded by strangers? Every day, we find ourselves in public settings with countless people around us.  Whether it’s shopping in a mall, being on a crowded subway, walking down a busy street, or even in an elevator fillled with people. How social are we then?

Once in a long while, we may strike up a conversation with someone while waiting to board a plane or in a doctor’s office, though this tends to be rare. More often than not, we consider any attempt to talk to a stranger as being awkward, and even unwelcome depending on how uncomfortable this makes us feel (especially if you’re a woman being approached by a strange man). For the most part, the strangers around us go on being strangers.

At least in terms of face-to-face interaction. Communicating with strangers online is a critical part of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Casual conversations that might seem unthinkable in a crowded room seem much easier when there is no physical contact involved. I have numerous Facebook and Twitter acquaintances that I interact with on a regular basis that I’ve never met in person and I am hardly unique.

But why are ordinarily social humans so unsocial in situations involving face-to-face interaction? Do we prefer being isolated when physically surrounded by strangers? Or do we feel that the consequences of connecting with people we don’t know are too risky to want to take a chance? Research studies looking at how we are affected by social interactions typically find that connecting with people who are close to us (friends and family) are more important than how often we interact with strangers. Since we tend not to regard strangers, or even distant acquaintances, as being a good source of social support (except in extraordinary circumstances), we’re less likely to try interacting with them.

Or is it simply the physical location that makes a difference? A survey of 203 participants using Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk marketplace were asked about the likelihood that they would talk to a friend or a stranger in a waiting room, a train, an airplane, or a cab. Virtually all the participants agreed that they would talk to a friend in any one of those settings. For strangers however, the numbers were very different. Ranging from 93 percent saying they would avoid talking in a waiting room to 51 percent saying they would avoid talking in a cab, most people apparently prefer to sit in silence rather than chatting with a stranger.

A new research study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General presents the results of nine field and laboratory experiments exploring why people apparently prefer to remain isolated among strangers. Conducted by Nicholas Epley and Juliana Schroeder of the University of Chicago, the experiments explored some of the underlying beliefs that might explain this strange need for solitude in public places.

Feature continues here:   Being Alone Together