We had a minor snag with one of the feature stories for this issue.

It had gone through our normal editing process, then I noticed after it was laid out that some of the changes were there, but some were not. We were ultimately able to figure out what happened, make the necessary fixes and lay it out again without any issues.

We had plenty of time to fix it and we knew how to fix it. But it happened a little more than a week before our deadline. Had it happened the day of, we would have been seriously scrambling. In other words, if we didn’t have any advance notice, our normal plans and processes for how we produce what our business relies on would’ve had to go out the window.

I bet that sounds familiar.

I’ve written a lot in the past about the importance of being prepared and having the ability to meet challenges as they come up. I’m sure you’ve spent a lot of time and effort considering every possible contingency and what all can wrong. But sometimes, timing is everything.

That’s been the story of the last year for sure, but it’s also the story of “normal” circumstances. We prepare and we plan, but sometimes something happens that we never would have expected. In those cases, we turn to our plans first, then we improvise if we have to.

There have been plenty of times in my career where I’ve had to improvise, and I’m sure you have to. But I would bet that your perspective on it is similar to mine: I can improvise when I need to, but I would much rather not have to do it on a regular basis. It’s exhausting and so many things can go wrong when you’re trying to fix things on the fly.

Sometimes, it’s inevitable, and “make it work” takes precedence over “do it the way we usually do it.” But there’s a reason we have a way we usually do it, and having to deviate from that way on a regular basis probably means there’s a systematic problem somewhere.

Things happen, and those things are often unavoidable. Sometimes you have no choice but to roll with it. But it’s always perilous, and avoiding it whenever possible is the best bet for success.