'Victory awaits him who has everything in order – people call it luck.

Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time – this is often

called bad luck!'

Roald Amundsen


In October 1911, two teams of adventurers made their final preparations in their quest to be the first

people in modern history to reach the South Pole.

For one team, with Roald Amundsen as leader, it would be a race to victory and a safe return home. For the

other team, under Robert Scott, it meant devastating defeat and death.


What made the difference?


Unlike Scott, Amundsen systematically built enormous buffers for unforeseen events. When setting supply

depots, Amundsen not only flagged a primary depot but placed 20 black pennants, easy to see against the

white snow, in precise increments, for miles on either side in case he got slightly off course coming back in

a storm. Scott, in contrast, put a single flag on his first depot with no markings on his path.


Neither man knew what precisely lay ahead. Yet Amundsen planned the entire journey to reduce the effect

of large forces and unfortunate chance events. He presumed bad events might strike his team somewhere

along the journey and he prepared for them, even preparing contingency plans in case something

happened to him.


On 15 December, 1911, Admundsen reached the South Pole. More than a month later on January 17, 1912,

Scott found Amundsen's Norwegian flag at the South Pole.


Admundsen returned to his home base on 25 January, 1912, the precise day he had planned. Scott stalled

in March, 1912, running out of supplies, exhausted and depressed. Eight months later, a British

reconnaissance party found the frozen bodies of Scott and his team.


Think about your own planning and preparation to achieve your goals. Are you like Amundsen or



Source: Great by Choice, Collins and Hansen