What to Do When the Plan Fails

April 8th, 2016 Posted by Behavior, Business Plan, Engagement, Inspiration, Leadership 0 thoughts on “What to Do When the Plan Fails”
sour lemons

Photo courtesy gratisography.com

This post originally appeared on February 20, 2015 at the former Business is ART Blog site and was one of the more popular posts at the time.  

That site itself is an example of a failed plan as it did not generate the traffic I had hoped. Hence a relaunch here at the Business Is ART website.

The plan WILL fail

Failure to plan is planning to fail. But what happens when the plan fails? The first clue is this: the plan will probably fail.

No matter how well you have planned in advanced, you will have missed something. You can’t predict the future. The ball won’t bounce your way. Something will happen, and that something usually comes in multiples.

Remain Calm

The best thing you can do for yourself, your team and your organization is to identify potential risks and how to mitigate against them upfront (you won’t identify all of them), anticipate the need for adjustments (even if you have no idea what they might be), remain calm when it is apparent they are needed, set ego aside and be prepared to make some very tough choices.

When the failures come:

  1. Avoid the temptation of playing the blame game. If you find yourself asking whose butt you are going to have to kick…stop. Said butt kicking might relieve a moment of tension, but will not create a solution (and may result in a law suit, depending on the recipient’s willingness to accept said butt kicking as an effective means of management and condition of employment).
  2. Set a tone of excellence, but do so in a way in which it is understood that when stuff happens. Create an atmosphere in which they know you will, first, seek to find and repair the problem, second, determine what caused it in the first place, and, third, put in procedures to avoid its re-occurrence.
  3. The key is to learn from failure, celebrate the fix, accept the new direction, and save that butt kicking for another day…for something important…like who forgot to bring in donuts on casual Friday.
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