Plan For Unpredictability

3329713552_da4c3d03c8_bThe fictional law firm on “The Practice” (on television from 1997 to 2004)  was notorious for relying on “Plan B” – which involved creating doubt with the jury about their client’s guilt by accusing a third (usually innocent) party of the crime.

While most of us don’t represent criminals – we could all benefit from developing a “Plan B” (or several) when we create strategy or make decisions.

Having a “Plan B” is important because while you can make educated assumptions about the future, you cannot guarantee that the future will unfold just like you predicted. You won’t always be able to stop and decide what to do after your plans fall apart. (Incidentally, the belief about whether the future is predictable vs. controlable is one key difference between MBAs and entrepreneurs).

For example, if you assume a certain level of revenue from your business and your revenues are much smaller than you anticipated, you might not have the ability to adjust once you’ve run out of money. So don’t just assess the most likely scenario – take the time when you initially plan to develop a best and worst case scenario too.

And importantly, don’t just think about a “Plan B” – think also about how you will implement it. That way, you’ll rarely be surprised when things don’t turn out the way you planned – they rarely do – and you’ll be always ready to react in a meaningful and thoughtful way.

Do you develop a “Plan B” when you make decisions? How do you prepare for the possibility that your plans/strategy may need to change?

Image credit: 1suisse

  • Paul Rickes

    The MBA/entrepreneurs link was a great read. Thanks! And thanks too for the post. We tend to be quick with our decisions and rarely consider alternatives. This is a good reminder that it pays to have a backup plan in case things go wrong.

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