Expect the Unexpected

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by Hurricane Irene. Since I live on the East coast and in the predicted direct path of Miss Irene, my wife and I prepared as much as we could. We bought bottled water, batteries, flash lights, canned and boxed food. We took inside anything that could be blown away by the 100 mph winds. We were ready. But guess what? Irene didn't show up in our

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by Hurricane Irene. Since I live on the East coast and in the predicted direct path of Miss Irene, my wife and I prepared as much as we could.

We bought bottled water, batteries, flash lights, canned and boxed food. We took inside anything that could be blown away by the 100 mph winds. We were ready.

But guess what? Irene didn't show up in our area. We received a little rain and some wind but nothing like we were expecting. We maintained power, and we still have not eaten all of that extra food

At first, I felt frustrated I had spent the extra money, effort and time, all in vain. I felt slighted. In an odd way, I was wishing the storm would have been stronger to show me that my preparation had paid off. This feeling lasted a couple of hours.

Then, as I often do, I compared this experience to my career. How often do we find ourselves preparing for the worst, and end up thinking all of that preparation goes unutilized? It is tempting to think we work hard at training and education, yet somehow feel like it wasn't really worth it, that we don't use much of what we learn.

My attitude began changing from originally feeling I unnecessarily prepared for the big storm. I started to think what would have happened had I not prepared and we did get the worst of it? That would have been much grimmer than spending a few extra dollars?

Likewise, what if you had not trained for the hardest customer objection in the finance and insurance office?

Say that you found yourself face to face with a customer who is a mechanic that gets all of his parts for free? Would that not be an uncomfortable situation? You would not know what to say. I digress.

We must always continue to practice, train and educate ourselves, lest we be left in the dust by those who do. No matter how often you feel like your training is not being put into maximum practical use, continue to do it because the alternative is unpreparedness.

This can result in lower income, lower customer satisfaction scores and even a loss of your job. My mentor, quoting a movie, told me “Victory loves preparation.” Those words ring in my head daily.

Chris Cochran is Finance Director of the Haddad Motor Group in Massachusetts.