Don’t Be Afraid to Have a Plan B

A few weeks ago I talked about driving forces, sources of change that every organization must align with or risk being run over by. Detecting driving forces requires “court sense” — you need to simultaneously track the movements and momentum of your entire team, and the entire organization, as well as the competition.

At the same time, I like to remind people of what I call “the Cost of Perfect Information.” Assessments of driving forces are essential, but time is wasted and opportunities are lost when people become fixated on having perfect information. It’s essential to recognize that there will never be enough information, let alone perfect information.

But nor will there always be perfect decisions.

That does not mean you should pursue long shots or ignore troubling data just to make sure you do something. You always want solid information, whether it’s about your client’s demographics, your program outputs and outcomes, or your nonprofit’s financial condition.

People will agonize too long in making decisions, but then they don’t pay enough attention to managing the consequences. They neglect to establish contingency plans and milestones and then do an honest assessment of whether the plan is working as the organization reaches (or doesn’t reach) the milestones.

There will always be unexpected twists that can sabotage the best-laid plans, so having a Plan B at the ready is a sound practice. Then, once Plan A is in motion, be prepared to adjust and recalibrate to ensure success.

  • Do you have a Plan B in place for your next project?
  • What should your Plan B include?
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