"What are we going to do if this plan doesn't work?"
Effective leaders have contingency plans. Vision includes seeing what might not go right and being prepared with a back-up plan.
I was taught this principle during my years in advertising. I had an intense client who was highly skilled at keeping me off balance. He loved to watch me squirm as he tortured me with brilliant questions.
"I love this idea for a TV commercial but what are you going to do if this doesn't work?"
"Sir, I know this campaign will work."
"It might but what is your back-up plan? Do you have another campaign ready to go?"
At that moment, I felt I needed dentures. And I wanted my mommy. I had given absolutely no thought to the possibility that a campaign might not work. A back-up plan? We worked all night just to finish Plan A!
I've been teaching the importance of contingency planning since that season in life. My client was absolutely correct. Stuff doesn't always go as planned. I have faith in the Lord, but my ways are not His ways. I applied this principle in managing P&Ls later in my career.
I became a big believer in lifeboat expense planning. It's really contingency planning. "If the planned revenue doesn't come in and we launch the life boat, what expenses will we allow into the boat?"
It's much easier to have an expense-cutting plan before we need it. There is much less emotion involved during planning. In a bad season in which the captain calls for a lifeboat launch, the only thing we need to do is execute the plan. The clarity of thought is amazing when a life boat is launched.
If the winds don't blow, make sure the sailboat has a motor.
"There are many plans in a man's heart, nevertheless the counsel of the Lord will stand" (Prov. 19:21).
Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.
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