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Everything runs like clockwork when all staff members show up for the hectic Sunday morning shift at the cafe.

Customers are greeted at the door, informed about delays and offered a drink while they wait for a table.

The whole system falls apart when one team member calls in sick.

Staff double as greeters and coffee runners.

People forget to prioritise, service is compromised, and customers get disgruntled.

Every business has a success strategy. We set targets and create plans to achieve them.

We imagine how we will perform and serve customers on our best days when staff show up on time and everything is going according to plan.

But here is the thing: Things don’t always go according to plan.

It is much harder to plan for failure.

We do not devote the same time and resources to imagining our next move for those times when we have to deviate from our original plan.

We are unprepared for failure because we do not always think about what could go wrong and what we will do when it does.

The server might crash.

The package may get lost.

The email might offend.

The salesperson could have a bad day.

The marketing campaign might not perform as you hoped.

You may go bankrupt and lose everything.

You may have to let go of your staff.

What then?

The difference between an exceptional performer and an average one is that they prepare for their ‘off’ days.

It turns out that we do our best work when we plan for failure and success in equal measure.

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