Strategic Planning 101: Plan B
By Phillip Lechter
Jun 4, 2006
Have you ever noticed how drastically the dynamics of a situation can change? When you have a plan for making active and proactive decisions if the need arises, you feel in command and in a position to influence bottom-line results.
And it doesn't seem to matter what kind of 'deal' it is. It could be a property you're ready to close on… a new product launch for your company… a business you've just purchased… or a relationship with a spouse or significant other. Whatever the circumstances or the situation, the one thing that's a high priority is having confidence that we can meet our goals and deliver - whatever it is - on time, on budget, and exceeding expectations. Tied to that is our ability to feel as though we're prepared for whatever lies ahead.
I believe that a well-researched plan and realistic targets on the road to success can set us up to win. I also believe that being prepared for every potential bump in that road is just as important. That's why a Plan B strategy is critical.
Being in Command
I find myself most challenged in situations when I feel as though the actions I take are nothing more than reactions - responses (sometimes knee-jerk… which can be the worst of all) to changes, delays, and unanticipated challenges - as opposed to being in control of my plan and progress.
I've learned that the best way to avoid falling victim to this type of frustrating, unproductive, and often destructive behavior is to always have a back-up plan, a Plan B, that can serve as a fall-back position.
It's all about control. Better still: being in command. You've been there…
Good plan… great team… promising potential for a project or a business or a 'deal'… when - for whatever reason - it goes sideways. (Or south!) We've all experienced this.
It could be a computer going haywire (…we all KNOW we need back-up files) or a city zoning or planning change that affects traffic patterns at a commercial complex in which you're a tenant (or property owner!).
The stronger and more viable your Plan B, the greater confidence you'll have as you move forward with Plan A. It's because you know you're prepared and in command. When a curve ball comes your way… you're prepared! You've anticipated obstacles and pitfalls and are ready to correct and adjust without so much as a missed beat. You've already thought through the challenges and have a plan in place for dealing with them.
Plan for Every Contingency
Your Plan B Strategy allows you to continue making active and proactive decisions in the event that your best plan, Plan A, derails - even a little.
The impact of this is incredible. I know how much more productive and effective I am when I'm focused on the outcomes and results of the project or the planning of a new one - as opposed to the stress of knowing that I haven't put a contingency plan (or a truly viable one) in place. It's a lot like knowing your 'exit strategy' - for a property, a business, or stock market investment - before you begin. With a clear plan in place, your vision isn't clouded with 'what-ifs' and you stay focused on goals, objectives, and execution.
Life, like business and investing, is about choices. And choosing to have a strong Plan B Strategy is one that delivers a huge return.
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