Devising A BackUP Plan
“Goals are in concrete, plans are in sand.” – unknown
A prudent leader is one who takes the time to envision, plan, and implement a game plan for success. The basic correlation typically leans toward the thinking that the greater the success, the better the planning that went into it.
While that can be a broad generalization, it is not unreasonable to assume that great success starts with great planning. Success just doesn’t happen by chance, and when chance occurs, the quickly executed plan will make the most out of good fortune.
But what about those inevitable times when it all falls apart, plans unravel, and failure is the result? What is your Back-UP Plan? These time are more critical to test your leadership mettle, and you need to be as prepared as you can possibly be to keep your teams moving forward.
Every good leader, solider, hiker, or coach, will likely have a back-up plan. These plans will vary leader to leader, and situationally, and organization to organization. But leaders will have them. Back-up plans will usually, but not always as we’ll see, be written down, and the astute leader will intuitively know what do do in many situations and throw the manual out the window.
Here are many key Back UP Plans that the typical leader has:
- Plan B – You should always have a basic back-up plan if markets shift, prices increase, or the path to the goal gets blocked. A contingency plan will enable you to shift gears on the fly and not lose any precious momentum gained from an otherwise solid plan.
- Plan C – Your secondary plan, but not a “Hail Mary” play. If two or more negative factors impact your progress, what is your “last ditch” or “pull out all the stops” plan? This should be the one that prevents further financial loss, reduces the impact on staff, and doesn’t set you back other than to “zero” from where you originally started from, if at all possible.
- Stick to the Values – Thwarted plans can easily get a company off track from their core values. Solid leadership will keep those values at the forefront like a banner waved onto the battlefield, giving everyone a visual of what they are fighting for. Keep their focus on the reason “Why” you exist, and the next goal will take on greater life and buy in from your teams.
- Positively Endure and Grow Through It – If you organization has a strong culture, you’ll need to only point these out and people will instinctively embody the attitude needed to carry them through. If not, you’ll need to set the tone and pace for everyone to believe in and adopt. Show them that you’ll all get through this together, and will be a stronger organization for it.
- Retreat – A wise leader knows when to disengage and count it as a loss. Sometimes holding on tenaciously, for whatever reason, will drag down the company and do more harm than good. If you can fully retreat from plans gone south, you will find more time to regroup and ready your teams for the next opportunity.
- Learn the Lesson, and Retool – At the least, lessons should be learned and objectively applied to the next phase you’ll go for. Those lessons may be how to have better R&D, streamline production, or check unrealistic and aggressive revenue goals. Losses of money and resources can be recouped. People will be harder to recoup but can with a consistent effort over time. Gaining knowledge on what failed and how to do it better the next time cannot. If the lesson is not learned and put into play quickly, it is likely gone forever.
- Keep Your Character Intact – This will be the ultimate standard in which your leadership is measured. If you willingly compromise your character in order to manipulate a desired outcome, or to come out on top yourself but at the cost to others, you will have lost far more than you’ve gained. A leader that can be authentic, steadfast, and unwavering in their service to others, their attitudes, and the overall vision, will inspire their people to follow them with more zeal and belief when they recharge for the next goal. Character is the backbone of every lasting success that any credible leader will have as their ultimate back-up. It’s not so much of a plan but a being of who they are and want their people to be as well.
Plan your work, plan your response, but plan mostly for your example. By it, you can succeed no matter what situation comes your way.