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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Be Flexible and Agile


The world is fast and unpredictable. That’s why we have to pay attention to the changes coming our way. In late October, we were supposed to present our keynote to a conference for McDonald’s in Atlantic City. However, a little thing called Hurricane Sandy had other plans. Thursday, October 25th at 10pm we received an email from our client letting us know that a hurricane was predicted to make landfall on the same day the conference started. We wrote back that we’d fly in a day early if we needed to and that if she was still having the conference we’d be there. Then we turned on the Weather Channel.

We watched in horror at the forecast of what was about to happen in the area. We suddenly changed our tune and hoped that they would reschedule. We were completely on edge. Would they have the meeting? Would we need to fly in early? Would we be able to get back home? Thankfully, the next day our client told us that they were going to reschedule the event. Whew! And a good thing too, since Atlantic City was evacuated and we all saw how devastating Sandy was.

Fast forward a few months. The meeting was rescheduled to this past Monday, February 25th. We kept an eye on the Atlantic City weather to make sure there wouldn’t be a blizzard issue out there. Fortunately, the forecast for Atlantic City was looking good.

However, at home in Colorado, it was not looking so good.  Last week we heard a local weather report vaguely mentioning snow in Denver on the Sunday we were supposed to travel. However, the snowstorm was forecast to arrive in the afternoon and our flight was scheduled to leave in the morning. Further, the snow in Denver this year has been pretty light. Every time the local meteorologists have predicted big snow, it’s been less than 3 inches of accumulation, so nothing really to mess up air travel.

The Saturday before we were to travel, Kris checked us in online for our flight out the next day. Then she checked the Denver weather forecast. To her dismay, she saw a foot of snow was predicted to fall the next morning…at the exact time our flight was supposed to depart.  Frantically, she checked the United website and the Denver Airport website, but there was no update  with information about this incoming weather. “If only I knew someone with the airline,” Kris thought. Then she remembered a friend on Facebook who works as a gate agent for United. She sent him a message asking what he thought. Thankfully, he responded immediately, and said, “Get out today.”

It was noon on Saturday. There were very few flights left for the day, and we needed to shower, pack, get someone to watch our dogs, drive to the airport, park, go through security, and make a plane all within a few hours. Needless to say, we have never packed as quickly. It turned out to be the right decision, because our flight for the next day had suddenly been cancelled. However, because we were paying attention and able to adapt our plans at the last minute, we made it to Atlantic City. When we finally arrived in our hotel room, we breathed a sigh of relief. The odds were stacked against us, but we were finally there. It was well worth the scramble, because they were a FANTASTIC audience who were fun, friendly and ready to laugh.
 
The lesson? Be flexible. Be agile. And when going to Atlantic City, be prepared to beat the odds. 

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Motivational speakers Tim and Kris O'Shea help organizations deal with change through relevant business humor. To learn more about these funny motivational speakers visit http://www.theosheareport.com/. To learn how to bring The O'Shea Report into your meeting or convention, please visit http://theosheareport.com/ or call 303-371-2849. Copright 2013 Tim and Kris O'Shea.