Leadership carries the day. Nothing takes the place of energetic leaders in all paygrades. Problems will arise, and people are needed who will overcome problems with minimal oversight or external motivation.
Conflicts are "come as you are" affairs. Do not expect you will miraculously get more healthy in personnel, training, or material if the big game starts unexpectedly. You must have the right number and mix of people. Your people must be trained. Your equipment must be ready.
Make the last minutes count. There may be time to do last-minute training and improvement of material condition. Make the best of the time before the game starts.
Shake the mind-set of the routine. The deployment cycle is predictable; war is not. Instill a sense of urgency in the everyday operations—e.g., take off on time, make the sortie, and make the mission. Teach aircraft and mission commanders to make risk-management decisions early. This will build confidence and trust.