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The impact of a snowplow on planning

Recently I was weaving my way to Toronto during some light snow (light in Northern Ontario terms; heavy in Southern Ontario terms) when I encountered an unexpected delay. I came upon a line of cars moving at a snails pace behind a snowplow traveling at 30km per hour. Despite several clear and safe opportunities to pass the plow (the plow slowed and moved over several times during straightaways) the line of cars followed single file behind the plow.

Shawn Casemore
Shawn Casemore
Planning for potential delays and preparing for circumstances that dramatically alter your plans on account of their own priorities require a very different approach. There are several tools that can be drawn upon in the event your plans are altered by unplanned, external forces.

Here are the 3 most important:
1. Identify an alternate path.
In the circumstance above, my attention became focused on identifying opportunities to safely move around the plow. There are always opportunities to overcome unforeseen obstacles, often which simply require a refocus of our attention and an alteration to priorities.
2. Take immediate mitigating actions.
Upon encountering the plow, I immediately contacted my first appointment (via hands free) to advise that I may arrive late and that I would provide an update in 30 minutes time. As the appointment was not for two hours, this allowed my client sufficient time to reconfigure their day as so to minimize any impact of my possible late arrival.
3. Identify contingent actions.
I began to review my day and determine the impacts of my late arrival. I visualized the impact of delays in 30-minute intervals (i.e. 30 minutes, 1 hour) to determine where recovery options existed, whom I may need to notify and how I might best be able to regain time that may be lost.

Fortunately it was not long before I and several other drivers had an opportunity to safely pass the plow, resulting in a negligible impact to my schedule. I have that time and again, applying these three steps in sequence of steps in the event of unforeseen circumstances allows me to maintain perspective on the circumstances and to stay on top of priorities.

Shawn Casemore, President, Casemore and Co.

The impact of a snowplow on planning

Vendredi 9 Mars 2012

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