Spring is here, but snow continues to fall in the Midwest. The Twin Cities’ forecast warns of a “Winter alert” over the next 36 hours. In the middle of April, you would expect to see rains falling and flowers blooming; were you prepared for more snow and freezing temperatures?
The great majority of businesses prepare a plan. Some of these plans have been prepared in a vacuum by the CEO while others have been developed “from the bottom up.” When prepared with input from various levels, each team member is invested in making their plan work. Timing is also important; ideally, a plan is prepared months in advance, before the Company’s fiscal or calendar year begins.
But what happens if the unexpected takes place – either an “act of G_d,” competition announcement, economy change or, as we are now experiencing, inches of snowfall in the Spring?
If you are in the snow removal and landscape business, you are preparing the lawn mowers—the snow removal equipment has been stored. If you are in the golf business, you have uncovered the greens and have sent out direct mail brochures of your golf openings. Now we have outside influences affecting your business.
A company that spends quality time in the strategic planning process should develop alternative contingency plans for such unplanned events. Now, I realize no one could have planned the effect that 9-11 had on our businesses, but more predictable events need to be anticipated by those who believe in a strong planning process, and appropriate contingencies with alternative actions should be considered.
Kenneth Macke of Dayton-Hudson Corporation used to tell me, “A business plan is not a plan without an action plan.” We could add to that old adage by saying that “a business plan is not a plan without an action and contingency plan.”
We at Elanstrategic LLC understand the importance of a strategic plan with an action plan for execution, which includes alternative contingency planning to help you through such events as a Spring snowstorm.