One of my favorite quotes is Mike Tyson's, "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." And invariably, when I'm working with the CEOs and the leaders that I coach and mentor, one of the things that they say that they'd like to become better at doing is handling the unexpected. And today I'm going to show you two simple things that you can do to increase your anti-fragility, to increase your ability to handle the unexpected and emerge stronger as a result.
Hi, my name is Eric Partaker and I help entrepreneurs and leaders scale up themselves, their companies, and also their well-being. And today we're talking about how you can get better at handling the unexpected through two simple techniques, and they are the pre-mortem and the post-mortem, or in other words, I'm going to teach the two ways to get better at handling the unexpected by developing your anticipation and your learning ability.
So a pre-mortem is something that you would simply do either yourself, if you're working on something yourself, or with your team. And the question that you're posing to yourself or to the group is, “Okay, let's assume in 12 or 18 months time or whatever the period of time is to reach completion on whatever it is that you're working on, that we've failed. What are the reasons why we would have failed?” Listen to yourself, listen to the group, and list all those reasons out. And then the second thing that you're going to do is develop plans to mitigate each of those things, to lessen the likelihood that those things will happen, or if you can't avoid that they might happen, to be prepared for what you will do when those things occur.
Now, the post-mortem, as it sounds, happens after a project or a piece of work has been completed. And once again, either with yourself, if you're working alone or with your group, you're simply sat down and you're asking yourself, "Okay, what are all the things that went well? What are all the things that went right? What are all the things that didn't go so well? And if we were to do things differently the next time around, how would we handle those things?"
Get better at doing pre-mortems and post-mortems, get better at anticipating the unexpected and developing plans of action beforehand, and get better at learning from what happened so that you can together become much better and stronger at handling anything that comes your way and surviving that punch. As Mike Tyson said, "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." Don't be that person. Pre-mortems and post-mortems are two simple ways for you to not get knocked down and to keep charging ahead.