On Oct. 26, Carol and I flew to Boston. Yes, we knew the predictions that a hurricane was barreling toward New York and then Boston. However, given the uncertainty of these storms and the fact that we already had plane tickets prior to hearing of the threat to Boston, we chose to make the trip.
Our flight in was bumpy but uneventful.
Saturday was cloudy with a mild breeze and we visited the Wilson Farm with our grandson and enjoyed a spooky hayride. The produce was amazing and diverse. A slinging rain dampened us on Sunday afternoon as we visited a stamp museum, which fascinated me since I was a collector as a child.
Monday started with the wind picking up as the outer bands of the storm made their presence known. At noon the bands became stronger and by six in the afternoon 40- and 50-mile an hour winds battered the maple tree in the front of the house and the huge locusts in the back. A downy woodpecker clung for survival to the molding outside the kitchen window. Occasionally, a missile of a limb surprised us as it banged against the house. By two o'clock the Boston mass transit shut down.
As darkness grew, so did the winds. We decided to stay away from the windows with all of the debris flying around. The wind sounded like a freight train coming down the street and then just as quickly let up for ten minutes before pounding the house with even stronger gusts. Power went out for only a few minutes a couple of times. By midnight the worst was over.
The next day my grandson and I picked up a fraction of the limbs strewn in the yard. I noticed a bucket truck on the next street behind my daughter's house and decided to take my grandson for a walk to see the work being done. He loves construction workers with their yellow hats. As a matter of fact, his Halloween costume was that of a construction worker.
A tree had uprooted taking the sidewalk with it. A man in the bucket or the truck sawed limbs and let them drop. Other workers drug them behind the truck to a chipper where they were ground and sprayed into the back of the truck. Every time the chipper engaged my grandson and I screamed with glee.
This experience was my first with an active hurricane. Luckily there was little damage where we were. Just in case, we stocked up on extra food, water, batteries, and ice prior to the winds strengthening. Weather in general and hurricanes in particular are by nature unpredictable. Had it traveled the original path projection, everything could have turned out differently.
When unpredictability occurs as it often does, the measure of a leader is tested. That is why good leaders have emergency plans in place to address any imaginable disaster. No one can anticipate every possible catastrophe, but plans can be made and practiced to address the most critical incidents. Good planning can minimize the damage of the unexpected and prepare people to act competently.
R. Glenn Ray, Ph.D., is the president of RayCom Learning. To learn more about Ray's new book, "Tons of Stone above my head: Coal Mining Stories with Leadership Lessons," visit his Web site, www.raycomlearning.com. Everyday Leadership appears each Wednesday on the Business page.