…And Then the Hard Drive Failed


computerI try to post on Tuesdays. Sometimes I write and store online; sometimes, like this week, my work is kept on the desktop pc. Tuesday morning started like most of my days. The plan was to do a final read and edit of the blog, post it to the website and LinkedIn, and then move on to a client project that had a tight deadline. But, when I went to the computer, the screen was blank, except for a bit of text that included the words “No boot device available.” Translation…”The hard drive has failed.

As I sit here writing a new post on Wednesday evening, I am working on the iPad. I know there are options for getting it from here up to the internet; I will figure it out when the time comes. Then I will need to figure out whether the drive can be saved, or whether I have lost it. The drive is backed up…I think. The backup program is scheduled to run every night, but I rarely check to confirm it has done its thing while I slumber.

I have backed up my work for years. But sometimes, that doesn’t help either. In addition to change mentoring, I am a photographer. I store my photos on a four-drive RAID 5 external drive. RAID 5 means that as soon as the photograph is sent to the computer, it is stored in two different locations on different drives. Safe.

Then, a couple years ago, failure! Not one of the drives, which would have meant that the photos were safe because of the redundancy. It was a software failure. There were still more than eighty thousand photographs, times two. But, there was no file structure. No folders. No file names. No ability to access anything.

It took me over eight months to recover almost everything. The recovery software could not rescue files over a certain size. I am sure that as I viewed images one by one I missed retrieving some of them. And, I lost most of the data that is part of my indexing system. But, bottom line, I recovered from the crash. And now the photographs are stored on a new four drive RAID 5 that is then backed up to another one. Someday something may not go according to plan again. Perhaps I am better prepared…or maybe not.

I bring up the failure of the drive not to provide an excuse for not posting, but because it is a fresh reminder for me of an essential lesson when facing change. There is an important place for planning when approaching and moving through change. But, things happen. As the saying goes, “Man plans and the gods laugh.”

The lesson is simple. Yes, plan. And then do it. Know that your plan is incomplete. Know that you will have to make some of it up as you go along. Know that you will make mistakes. Know that you can’t, as one of my clients puts it, “dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t.'” And even if you could find a way to do so, at some point it will go off course. if you are too dependent on the plan, you will too.

Plan, and then be prepared for the unexpected. It is inevitable. And, don’t wait for every line of your plan to be written. The opportunity that you are pursuing may pass you by; the course you are attempting to correct will veer even further astray. Move forward. Someday the hard drive may crash. Or, it may not.

What is your experience with planning? Has it helped you, failed you, propelled you forward, held you back? Feel free to comment and add your own story.






One thought on “…And Then the Hard Drive Failed

  1. My hard drive failed recently, got it rebooted, but is on the brink of failing again. How serendipitous. I also used this episode as a metaphor on leadership! Great provocative piece, Brian! :)


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