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  • Writer's pictureSusan & Renée

Planning in a Time of Contingency

The ancient book, Art of War, has been used by business leaders to develop strategic responses to crisis.Today, business leaders are writing new playbooks that could be entitled Art of Contingency.

As states propose and implement plans to reopen their economies, business leaders are attempting to plan for the future in an environment where constantly shifting information is paired with a sense of urgency.

This can create a stalemate in your brain. Do you wait for information to solidify before you make a decision? Do you move forward with plans with what feels like incomplete information?

Here is a guide that can be helpful you as you continue to move your company forward:

Obtain the relevant information for your specific situation: Every company will have different challenges and opportunities. Pull together the resources that will help inform your company’s unique decision making process.

Create Options: This is the time to gather all of the decision makers, experts and staff to clarify the decisions that need to be made and develop viable options. Having multiple voices as you create options can help increase the agility of your response.

Weigh the Options: Vet each of the options based on the impact to the viability of your company and the safety of your workforce. Weighing multiple contingencies will allow you to explore a variety of options some of which may be able to be used at later times in the crisis.

Select a course of action: This may be the most stress inducing step. It is difficult to have a clear vision of the future. We have to wait and see what will happen with the course of the virus. As business leaders, however, you cannot wait to make decisions. Once you decide on an immediate course of action, continue to map out a variety of contingent responses that can be used as new information becomes available.

Another reason decisions are so complex right now is that many leaders are being forced to choose between competing values, namely the need to keep employees healthy and protected vs the need to help employees provide for their families financially. Next week we will be discussing how to make decisions through the lens of ethical dilemmas.

What are the essential elements of your planning process? Please share with us on our Facebook page.

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