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Learn to love plan B or C

Learn to love plan B or C

Have you ever found yourself having your first plan not succeed and then you had to move on to plan B or C or maybe plan D?  Did you ever notice that the alternatives seemed to be more difficult or frustrating than the plan before it? 

I can remember a date night with my wife, where I became frustrated that we missed the 7pm movie due to the babysitter being late and we had to adjust our plans.  The goal was to go out and enjoy watching the movie and be together, not necessarily the 7pm movie.  I was so caught up with the evening not going as I had planned it that I was not a very good date night companion. 

After the night ended, I had a chance to reflect about why I was so upset about having to change my planned course of action.  Yes, there was frustration with not having the original plan go as expected and there was a delay, but most of the negative attitude had do with being so emotionally tied to the first plan.  For some reason I couldn’t get past that emotional attachment with the first plan and the sense of failure around not being able to execute the way I wanted to.

I will bet that I am not alone in this emotional attachment to a plan. Let’s be honest here, show of hands of those of us who can get so locked in on a course of action that we can’t easily adjust and move on to another alternative. 

I should have realized that the movie time was not that big of a deal to the overall datenight and the change in time resulted in seeing the show later. The baby sitter didn’t have to be home at a certain time.  As a college student, she had her books, laptop, etc. and was going to be up studying at our place or hers anyway. Not a big deal that she was running unavoidably late that night but I couldn’t let it go.  In being open here, this was not a great example of personal leadership.

So what did I do?  Just what I would tell my personal or business clients to do, I put this item on my list of things to work on and became intentional about how I handled it in the future.

Even when we move the scale of importance from the low end of going to a movie to something extremely important, like landing the next deal or getting a product out the door, there is often more than one path to that goal.

Sometimes you just need to be able to adjust and go with the next plan.

Sometimes you just need to be able to adjust and go with the next plan.

Take it from someone who has learned and continues to learn this lesson, the next time you have a plan that doesn’t work out as expected, try to remove or at the very least reduce the amount of emotional attachment to the plan. Accept the fact that the strategy or plan didn’t work, reset expectations and develop the next plan of action and move forward towards the goal again.

A key leadership take away here is to not give up the goal or objective just because the attempt didn’t work:

  • Work to reduce the negative emotion around the setback
  • Pull your team of advisors around you if needed
  • Be intentional in looking for other alternatives 

Once you have reset, then you will be able to execute plan B or C much more effectively enabling you to reach your goal.

Let me know how you reset yourself when plan A didn’t work out the way you expected I would love to hear about some of your successes on this topic.  Now go out there and Get2it!

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