Expecting the Unexpected

When my kids were very young, I would take them with me to run errands. They’d say, “Momma, what’s our plan today?” with excitement in their voices. They wondered what our adventure to town would include! I would list things such as stopping at the post office, the bank, the library, etc. During our outings if I made a stop that was not on the initial list, one of them would say, “Momma, this place was not on the list. This was not part of our plan!” I quickly realized I needed to teach my children about the meaning of flexibility – sometimes we need to just ‘go with the flow.’

These memories and reminders have come to mind during work related situations this year.

For example, Global Learning Partners recently held our semi-annual all-company meeting. Traditionally, this has been an opportunity for an in-person gathering of our Board of Directors, Core Consulting Team and staff… an event we cherish every year. However, this year, due to Covid-19 we had to get creative and plan a different type of gathering. We met virtually.

We spent weeks drafting, tweaking and finalizing a design for our online meetings. We spent hours testing and retesting certain Zoom features including the use of breakout rooms. Our goal was to create a special all-company meeting given our limitations.

On game day my co-worker and I hopped on Zoom 30 minutes early to set up the breakout rooms and finalize last minute details before our 27 other participants joined the call. BUT… our worst fears came true: the breakout rooms weren’t working! I started sweating. How could this be, we had tested and re-tested this?! We are planners and this was not part of the plan.

I private messaged my two leadership team colleagues. “The breakout rooms aren’t opening! We need a Plan B.” I received a message, “No problem, we got this.” I took a deep breath and quickly tweaked our plan.

Well, the meeting was a huge success – it went smoothly, and we achieved our goals. Yup, we had to be flexible and do things “that were not on the list.” We stayed calm and are learning to expect the unexpected.

When did you have to be flexible and adjust your plan because of the unexpected?


Rebecca Kerin-Hutchins (rebecca@globallearningpartners.com) is Business and Finance Director for Global Learning Partners.

Here are other blogs by Rebeccca.