7 Thoughts When The Boat Is Rocking, The Ship Is Sinking or The Plane Is Going Down

Strategic operations planning begins with perspective (where an organization is), priority (where an organization wants to go) and planning (how an organization will get there).  The process is introspective and intentional.

It’s not uncommon for plans to get unraveled during a crisis.  A simple decision within an organization can cause momentum to become derailed, mission to become detoured or management to become distracted.

Too often, courses are not corrected because there is a “strategic plan” in place.  In all cases, a crisis requires course evaluation and many times, course correction.

When the boar begins to rock too much . . . when the ship is sinking . . . when the plane is going down . . . it’s time to the strategic plan on hold and grab onto the survival plan.

In uncharted waters and turbulent times, it’s necessary to set an alternate direction and improvise.

Dan Rockwell (Leadership Freak) gives 7 laws of planning in turbulence:

  • Set medium-term direction and make short-term plans during turbulence.
  • The higher the turbulence, the shorter the window for planning becomes.
  • Planning becomes progressively less useful and more dangerous as turbulence increases.
  • Agility and adaptability matter more than staying the course in turbulent environments.
  • Stable character increases in value as environments become less stable.
  • Improvisation is the most important strategy in turbulent environments. Everything else is contingency.
  • Make short-term plans but know if turbulence persists, plans will change.

In Turbulent Times, Reach Out and Reach In

  • Build relationships that galvanize during turbulent times.  You’ll go further with others in your boat than you will by rowing alone.
    • Build relationships before the boat starts filling up with water.
    • Nurture long-term relationships. Every leader needs a pool of reliable go-to people.
    • Show up to help others because it’s who you are, not because you need something.
    • Ask for help when you need it.  The five most important words . . . “Will you please help me.”
    • Success in any environment requires connecting with others.
  • Maintain realistic optimism.
    • Face reality with your eyes wide open and the belief that you can find a way forward.
    • Realistic optimism fuels urgency and energy.
    • Pessimism invites posturing and reluctance.

Don’t forget about the strategic plan.  But, while you’re in the middle of the storm, grab onto the oar and start paddling like crazy.

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