How to Confirm Your Plan with a Recon

Today we’re going the extra mile.  Quite literally.  Next weekend our Scout troop is going winter camping in the hills of Pennsylvania.  I think we have a pretty good plan for the trip, but I always like to confirm my ideas by walking the ground ahead of time whenever possible.  It’s a reconnaissance.  Join me, and I’ll show you how to do a little recon that will help make sure your plans turn out the way you expect.

Get Ready to Recon!

Before you go, it’s a good idea to do a little preparation first.  Visualize the process or flow of whatever it is you are doing.  Ask yourself what is it that you need to be sure about for your event to go well, and what can go wrong. Make yourself a checklist so you know what you are looking for.

For this trip, getting there is critical, so we are going to start by driving the route to the camp site and thinking about problems that might arise along the way. I’m timing how long it will take, and picking out landmarks to help people make the critical turns.

Once we get there, we can think about things will go as everybody arrives.

Walk the Ground

It’s a good idea to visualize the flow.  There will be about 25 people on this outing, so we’ll be in five or six cars rolling through the front gate; when we arrive, it will be well after dark on a Friday night.  Things are always harder in the dark.  Maybe we should rally up here, make sure we have everybody before we go deeper into the woods.

Once we find the actual camp site, there are a couple other things I want to check out.  On my list, I’m looking for three fire rings and plenty of wood to keep us warm.  There need to be at least three tables, and ample space to pitch our tents.

We also need to ensure that there is drinking water available nearby, and of course cell phone coverage!  I mean how else are you going to update Facebook with pictures of happy campers if there’s no coverage, right?

Confirm the Backup Plan

And finally, I’ll check the backup plan. If a Scout gets wet or cold or if the weather gets really bad, we have this cabin reserved.   I’ll make sure I know how to get the key, and check that there’s plenty of wood for the stove.

Once you have done your reconnaissance it’s a good idea to update your plan and let people know of any major changes.

After the recon, update the plan and let people know! Click To Tweet

The Takeaway

Whether you are heading out to winter camp, planning a special event for your team, or something else, it always pays off to do a recon if at all possible.

For one thing, you will know more about what is going on so you will be able to lead with confidence.  Since you have been there, you are already more experienced than the others, which will help you guide them.  You can prevent nasty surprises from popping up and making things difficult for you.  And, you can ensure that your backup plans are workable and ready.

When you can confidently lead your team to a place they haven’t been before and guide them successfully through a challenging event, their respect for you as a leader will grow.

They know that you are willing to go the extra mile to ensure success, and that’s what it’s all about.

There is no substitute for personal reconnaissance! Click To Tweet

So do a recon and be sure.

Good luck and thanks for watching.

Question:  I did this recon on my own; what advantages are there in bringing along a few other key people?
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About the Author: Ken Downer
Ken Downer - Founder RapidStart Leadership

Ken served for 26 years in the Infantry, retiring as a Colonel.  From leading patrols in the Korean DMZ, to parachuting into the jungles of Panama, to commanding a remote outpost on the Iran-Iraq border, he has learned a lot about leadership, and has a passion for sharing that knowledge with others.  Look for his weekly posts, check out his online courses, subscribe below, or simply connect, he loves to talk about this stuff.

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