One of my first jobs was managing a restaurant for a large chain. My GM at the time was a very tough guy to work for—to put it nicely. However, I will never forget one great piece of advice he had which was, “The essence of management is to solve problems before they occur.”
In the restaurant business, this meant always looking ahead to the weekend schedule and seeing if there was a social event in town that might cause some staff to not show up. It meant planning ahead for anything that could cause a fluctuation in demand on any day or even during a shift. I knew I was effectively putting his advice into action when other managers would look at my operation and tell me that I had it really easy because things ran smoothly. They thought I was just lucky as it never seemed like I had to do much work!