“The most successful people are those who are good at Plan B.”
James Yorke, mathematician and author of the Chaos Theory
Are we coming out of recession, or going back in? Will consumer confidence pick up, or continue to spiral downward? Can Washington agree on anything? What’s happening in Europe? Will China and India stay the course? These are unsettled times, indeed. For organizations looking to grow, the terra under our feet is definitely not firma.
As optimists, we think in chaos there is opportunity. Mr. Yorke did—his famous quote was based on experience. He saw those who were open to change using changing circumstances to their advantage. When you’re flying high, it’s hard to think about change, but if you encounter adversity—as most of us eventually do—the opportunity in chaotic times may be more apparent. Take one of these common situations we’ve all faced:
- Your budgets have been cut. Significantly. Do you stay the course, and skinny everything down, or refocus on one piece of your original
plan— something simpler and more manageable?
- You’ve been going months, full guns, towards your ambitious goal…except your plan isn’t producing the results you expected. Is it time for something different, or is there some part of your plan that is working—that could become the core of a new program?
- Your organization has had a big change of strategic direction—through purchase or divestiture, or external market change—and now you need to rethink everything. Do you need a new plan, or can your old plan be repurposed to match that new direction?
If any of these sounds like what you’re facing, then you definitely may be at what VC’s call “the pivot point”. This may be the time to take your learning and resources and apply them to a new Plan B. If you go for one, you’ll join a long line of men and women who had the courage to change their minds and generate new success. Think about some famous pivot points that led to surprising results: in battle after battle, George Washington lost New York and half of New Jersey to the full British army, but developed a Plan B that won the confidence of his troops and the Continental Congress when he crossed the Delaware that Christmas night and succeeded in capturing the British garrison through a sneak attack on Trenton; Coca Cola failed monumentally when it introduced New Coke (after millions invested in market research had told them this was what America wanted), then launched Plan B, creating a tidal wave of support through the quick re-introduction of Coke Classic.
If you think your organization may be at a pivot point, and a creative Plan B is the way to go, your first instinct may be to bring in your team and ask them to come up with one. At Milestone Partners we’re all for internal development, but we think the difficult economic environment in which we’re challenged to perform warrants your tapping into some objective, dispassionate outside help. To take advantage of your pivot point, you need an external resource that can lead your effort (and work off-line, if needed) through an objective review of your strategy, programs and
resources. One that has the breadth and depth of proven successful experience to identify new, workable solutions, and the knowledge of how to implement them quickly and profitably.
A resource like us—Milestone Partners. We’ve thrived through booms and busts. We know what works and what doesn’t. We’ve handled clients from mom-and-pop start-ups to Fortune 500 multi-nationals. We generate fresh ideas, and know how to apply them in proven ways. Given our marketing and service experience, we can jump in, become part of your team, and get everyone to a more effective Plan B in no time at all. We know what it’s like because life has thrown us each a lot of curve balls—and we’ve found new opportunity in every adverse situation. We’re living our Plan B now, and ours is working. Contact us and let us help you with yours.