U-turn if you need to – there’s no sense sticking with a flawed plan

Printweek editor Darryl Danielli
Printweek editor Darryl Danielli

I’m a little cautious about making references to politics, because, well, as recent calamitous events have proven a lot can happen in a very short space of time.

But the current chaos got me thinking about the safer ground of the ‘power of the plan’.

In some quarters of business theory, indecisiveness is considered the nemesis of good leadership and the perceived wisdom is it’s generally better to make a quick decision, even if it turns out to be wrong, than to make no decision at all.

Of course, some would argue against that theory – especially in light of recent events.

But key to the quick decision model is not being afraid to back-track, make a u-turn, pivot, whatever you want to call it, when circumstances demand it.

It’s just a question of timing, I suppose.

If you have a plan you believe in, it needs to be given enough time to succeed and ditching it too soon if it doesn’t bring the immediate results you hoped for can be a mistake. But, and it’s a big BUT, sticking rigidly to a plainly flawed strategy that isn’t delivering can cause even greater problems.

Essentially, it’s the fundamental dilemma facing all business leaders, and I suspect that even the most brilliant, un-Baldrick like plans will still face the challenges and missteps along the way.

After all, the best-laid plans are living breathing things that can be flexible and evolve so they roll with the punches.

The reason I mention this is we’re heading into what is clearly going to be a challenging time for some business leaders. In all likelihood you’re going to have to develop new plans or change strategies and that will likely involve some fairly hefty decisions in the months ahead.

So, I respectfully refer you back to my comment in the Spring of 2020... you’ve got this (again).