I was chatting recently with some corporate representatives who were visiting Guam for a few days from California about what many of us have also unfortunately experienced.
Their 20-some hour trip started with a captivating in-flight movie … that was over before the plane left the ground. After three hours on the tarmac, the passengers were allowed to deplane into the airport until a second plane was ready a few hours later. A late arrival in Tokyo then meant an unplanned hotel stay until the next connecting flight in the morning to their destination, where they had events and business meetings that also had to be shifted.
When schedules don’t go as planned, it breeds frustration, among a roller coaster of other emotions. Yet whenever there is the opportunity to control a situation and plan it according to the best case scenario, we do so. The hard fact of the matter is that the plans we set for ourselves are not always reliable.
This truth is clear with most, though not all, of our eight 2015 Businesswoman of the Year nominees. Most set out on one course — whether it was a career in marketing, social work or a medical field — only to find that life would deal her a different set of cards.
The same is true of several construction companies that we talked to this issue. They have had plans in the works for more than 10 years now to boost their resources, manpower and bidding capabilities for projects related to the military buildup that took longer than expected to, and some still expect may not fully, materialize.
Guam retailers have catered primarily to a mix of locals and Japanese tourists for decades now but are finding their marketing plans are now somewhat off course as family entertainment and other tourism markets have proven to be more of a constant.
Plans carry expectations, and whenever those expectations are not met, there is a sense of failure or disappointment. But a much more valuable characteristic ends up taking the place of our ability to plan ahead: resiliency. When an expectation shifts paths, those who will be successful find a way to adapt. They adjust their plans to the opportunities presented to them and move forward with no less determination.
When people reflect on their successes, how many times have we heard, “I never imagined I’d end up doing this”? More than having a steadfast plan, these people were aware and accepting of unforeseen opportunities that came their way. Furthermore, they probably had a Plan B — and even a Plan C — when Plan A went by the wayside.
In our fervent efforts to plan, we must plan to be caught off-guard. What is our best use of time for the flight that started out five hours behind schedule? What is our alternate plan for the career we’ve pursued or the economy we’ve forecasted?
I would be leaning to an overtly pessimistic view if I didn’t conclude by saying there is also the chance that everything will go just as planned.
And then there’s a chance your plans may turn out even better than expected. We hope the latter proved true for each of our Businesswoman of the Year nominees and for Joann G. Camacho, the First Hawaiian Bank and Guam Business Magazine 2015 Businesswoman of the Year. Congratulations on an honor well-deserved.