Google+ The Marketing Survivalist: Plan Bs Are For Wimps!

Plan Bs Are For Wimps!

I had a boss who actually said this me once when I suggested that he needed a safety net for the risky strategy he was proposing. I wasn’t suggesting that he not follow his strategy, after all, the pay off could have been tremendous. However, there was a good chance it wouldn’t work and a solid Plan B could save the division if Plan A didn’t pan out.

What I wanted to say after he essentially called me a “wimp” was that not having a Plan B is for “failures.” However, name-calling in business is never a good idea, especially when it is your boss you’re talking to. So I shut my mouth and went along with Plan A. Which, incidentally, still has yet to yield anywhere close to the results he was looking for. I’ve long since left the company, but I do still follow them so I have a good idea of how things are working.

Let me just say here that I think this guy was a bright and talented individual. I think my pragmatic nature balanced his enthusiasm well. This was just one of those areas where we didn’t see eye to eye.

Call it Plan B, contingency planning, or even an exit strategy, everyone has a plan B whether they know it or not. In the situation I outlined above, there was a plan B. It was called “fail and then try to scramble to find something that can bring the numbers up.”

You don’t need to publicize Plan B to the rest of the company. That could easily make it look like you are planning to fail. However, pretending you are sinking everything into this make or break strategy and actually doing it are two different things.

I have a pretty high tolerance for risk and I’ve developed lots of strategies that didn’t quite work out the way I had originally planned. Sometimes the changes that I made were minor, but sometimes they were complete reversals in strategy. Thinking through the “what ifs” ahead of time helped me turn things around in short-order and get everything back on track.

So do you agree with my old boss, that Plan Bs are for wimps? Or, like me, do you have several plans up your sleeve that you can pull out in times of crisis?
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