Leadership Lessons from a Moving Adventure

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We talked for years about moving to the town where my wife grew up. This month, we did it. We moved from Charlotte, North Carolina to Hartsville, South Carolina, and learned a lot.

Moving is hard and stressful. There are many moving parts and many things can go wrong. The one thing you can expect is the unexpected.

The day we had scheduled to move in turned out to be the day that Hurricane Michael swept directly over Hartsville. Things got wet when we were loading the truck the day before. We had to postpone the move for a day.

A hurricane or another natural disaster may not disrupt your project. You won’t have to worry about protecting family heirlooms like a 150-year-old jelly cabinet. But there are still lessons you can learn from our move.

Planning Makes It Better

We handpicked a mover, picked dates for the move, and coordinated activities at each end. It paid off.

Don’t plan too much though. We’ve done several moves, so we knew agility and good humor get more done than precise planning. We were right.

Preparation Drives Out Panic

We prepared for the move as well as we could. We identified items that would require special care. We moved some of them ourselves before the movers showed up. Good preparation helped things go as smoothly as possible, kept fragile treasures as safe as possible, and saved money.

I’ve noticed that many people like to jump right from the planning part of a project to the doing part. Even if the planning is great, taking time to put things in order and communicate with everyone affected makes things better.

Stuff Happens

No matter how well you plan and how thoroughly you prepare, things will happen that you don’t expect. Most of them will not be good.

Some things will be those black swans you can’t predict. We thought Hurricane Florence was the last one this year, but Michael came roaring in and hit Hartsville on the day we intended to move in.

Because moving, like any project, involves people, there will be mistakes. The movers left things behind they should have brought. The dispatcher at the moving company and I worked out a solution.

Bottom Line

Our move was like many big projects. Lots of people were involved and there were lots of moving parts. There were surprises and mistakes. Our move was stressful, but with just enough planning, thorough preparation, agility, and good humor, it went as well as we could expect. I hope your project does, too.

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