Expect the Unexpected: Adaptive Business Planning is Key

Business Planning is Key: Expect the unexpected

That’s the motto of the popular reality tv show Survivor, but it could double as the motto for 2020. With a pandemic and political turmoil, this year has had twist after twist, and then more twists. Simply Google “2020 memes” and you’ll quickly get a pulse on how the world is feeling about the year. One meme captured it like this: “Waking up every morning in 2020: let’s see…where were we? Oh yes, the pit of the despair.”

As a business owner, maybe you’ve felt that despair: productivity and communication challenges with your employees working remotely, declines in sales, canceled events and meetings. Business owners and managers are facing unexpected, compounded challenges at a rapid pace.

Let’s start with the bad news: unexpected, rapid challenges aren’t going to stop, even when 2020 and the coronavirus are in the rear-view mirror. The good news, however, is that if you can create a framework for your business that is agile and fosters flexibility and innovation, you will be light-years ahead of your competitors.

What does this look like? It doesn’t look like a magic 8-ball and paper packed binders of processes and procedures for if X, Y, or Z happens. It also doesn’t look like just winging it and just living in the day-to-day of the business. We can glean some wisdom from a quote shared by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, “plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” Things aren’t going to go as we plan. As Eisenhower elaborated, you can take your “plans off the top shelf and throw them out the window.” The answer isn’t the plan, it’s in the planning. Let’s put it this way:

DON’T: Create a perfectly formulated plan for what to do in this situation or that situation.

DO: Strategize the skills, tools, and resources needed to adapt and succeed in a variety of situations.

Expect the Unexpected Adaptive Business Planning is Key

Here are four questions to consider when assessing your company’s adaptability

Can your people pivot? In an emergency or struggle, you don’t want to be stuck in a boat with a bunch of people that panic when chaos sets in. You want people that can adapt and respond. When roadblocks pop up, job responsibilities shift, and project plans don’t go exactly as planned, how does your team respond? A good team can pivot to new situations and identify solutions for unforeseen problems.

Are you collaborating? As a business owner or a manager, you should not be the sole source of all of the great ideas and solutions. Collaboration is key for success. You should strive to create an environment of free-flowing information where every team member feels safe to share and contribute. Whatever you are working on, find ways to pull more people in so that you can gain from their contributions.

Can your technology adapt? Many companies have boxed themselves in by continuing to use software and tools long after they have degraded to the “unsupported” status. Take steps to make sure that your technology systems are accessible and secure.

Are you planning for succession? Here’s one thing you can count on: you and key managers in your organization are not going to be with the company forever. You might prefer to NOT think about it, but you eventually will leave the company. If you want your company to be adaptable in that unknown, you need to be considering succession. GRITT Business Coaching can help you plan for succession.

The moral of the story: expect the unexpected… but keep planning. Still not sure where to start? From making sure you are hiring the right people from the get-go to planning for when the door shuts behind you one last time, Gritt Business Coaching can help.


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