Do You Have a Plan B for That?
Surprises make us feel out of control. That’s true for any organization or team. Both leaders and their followers dread surprises. They know from experience that unexpected events create confusion, zap confidence, and leave everyone feeling exposed.
That’s why the best leaders are always running contingency plans in their heads. They always have a Plan B and a Plan C ready for execution in the face of unusual obstacles and unforeseen troubles.
Teaching yourself to think about contingency plans requires one key move that leaders who excel at it practice repeatedly. Before executing a given process or decision, they first think through the worst-case outcomes.
What could go wrong? What could blow up? What if…? Before committing to a process or decision, the leader factors what can go wrong and then settles on a Plan B and C, in case the decision is derailed by something entirely unexpected. This fallback planning provides the conviction needed to overcome any surprise and allows the team to feel confident that everything is under control.
You can always identify a leader by learning the Plan Bs and Cs they have for just about any important event or decision. You will also find they know instantly what can go wrong and have worked hard to eliminate that possibility before executing any strategy. When a leader sits in a leadership role long enough, they begin to see everything that can go wrong with more clarity.
For the rest of us, we need to scenario plan the possible negative outcomes with what-if questions. Eliminating the worst-case scenario and then developing at least two alternate paths is how surprises become less surprising.
P.S. A quick reminder — we will be holding a live digital event on March 16th showing how Admired Leadership Digital is helping HR professionals bring effective leadership development into organizations. Details on speakers to come. But you can register here right now.