Becoming Our Best


Recently my friend Mike and I went up into the Yosemite wilderness for a backpack trip. It was September and we knew that we might face an early season snowstorm, but the weather reports predicted relatively good weather, and we were prepared for chilly temperatures and some snow. The Forest Ranger we consulted said "10% chance of snow, with a low pressure system moving in".

So we went forward with the plan and hiked to Mono Pass (10,600 ft elevation). The wind was blowing a continuous 40-50 MPH under bright blue skies, resulting in miserable conditions for hiking, fishing, eating, sleeping or just enjoying the beautiful setting. So we climbed into our sleeping bags early and listened to the cold wind blow all night.

When I got dressed at 6AM the wind was still blowing hard with dark clouds spread across the sky. So we decided to hike back to the car, ending our trip two days early. We both agreed that this was a good, well-considered decision. Here are a few points that helped us make that decision:

Gather as much data as possible: In this case, the weather forecast, the conditions at our camp, reports from other hikers.
Balance optimism and pessimism about what might happen.
Consider carefully the adequacy of the resources you have available for use in the worst case.
Don't be afraid to err on the side of caution. If the worst case occurs and you don't survive that is definitely a bad outcome.

When you and your team are in a position where the way forward is potentially dangerous and requires a hard decision, consider the points above. That could save you time, resources and perhaps lives.

Gathering Storm, Mono Pass, CA

Author: Bruce Johnsen Management Consultant:
824 Munras Ave Suite G
Monterey, CA 93940

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