The 6 P’s of Preparation

I remember as a 12 year old one particular day in 1979 during the school summer holidays; all of my friends from an adventure group had gone away on a day trip without my knowledge.  ‘Billy no mates’ I believe it’s called today.

After a day of wandering around my house and watching TV on one of the three available channels, my father came home from work and asked me what was wrong.  I told him that I was bored, which was incomprehensible to a man who’d served in the British Army for 26 years.  That evening I was signed up at the local Army Cadet Force and told: “Son, you’ll never be bored again.”

Over the next few weeks I was taught various skills, including how to march, shoot, map read, play drums and iron a kilt – it was a Scottish regiment and no, you can’t see the photos!  By the age of 13 I was attending monthly camps where I got to fire live ammunition, rock climb, abseil and canoe.  I was having a ball.

I learned so much, and as I got older I attended courses that taught me how to teach skills to younger cadets.  What I remember the most from these training sessions was the preparation rule; the ‘Six P Rule’.

It stands for Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

The reason I liked this rule so much is that it can be used in many different ways. I mean, knowing what the hand signal for ‘Gun Group’ is not going to help me in my job.  But with the Six P rule, I can and do apply it to most occasions and in many tasks; such as speech writing, event organising, presentations, fire drills, holidays, and parties… the list is endless.

Sometimes when we are under pressure and our backs are against the wall, we can rush to complete a task.  Then, invariably you look back and realise that you could have actually improved your result with a bit more preparation.

So when planning for something, you may like to follow these tips:

  • Give yourself plenty of time, don’t leave it to the last minute;
  • Research your subject;
  • Ask a colleague who has done something similar before. They may have templates or examples for you;
  • Identify the key points you want to address then work around them;
  • Practice. Try some dry runs with colleagues;
  • Try to make what you are doing interesting;
  • Be confident!

So next time you have a project, just take a deep breath and remember the six P’s, I’m sure it will help.

By Tim Powell, Front of House Manager, MITIE Client Services


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