Planning for a crisis

The combines were out in force last night – up and down they went hour after hour, right through to 2am. Noisy buggers they are too, but rather than be frustrated or angry that they were disturbing my sleep with their racket, I was hugely impressed that they had been able to mobilise so quickly with the promise of a crop-threatening downpour due today.

And this morning, the harvest is in – they’ll no doubt be ploughing the fields later!

Yes, you could say that the rain’s always coming in Britain, and why wouldn’t they be prepared and ready for action, but the snow’s always coming too, and we know what happens then.

Being good in a crisis isn’t a skill, and nor is it simply a case of being a quick thinker.  Being good in a crisis, being able to react when the proverbial hits the fan, is down to planning.

Planning for steady growth, having a plan in place for when unexpected opportunities arrive, and contingency planning for when things go wrong, for when there’s a big error with a major order, for a downturn in the economy, for when weather is coming that’s going to ruin your crop, and therefore your livelihood.

I talk a lot about the importance of Planning.  It’s one of the cornerstones of McDonald’s success, and one of the 4 foundations in my McFreedom System™, because I’ve learned that sometimes in life you have to slow down to go faster.

McDonald’s taught me a lot about the importance of planning, and how to be smart about it.  I learned that planning is a team sport; most effective when it involves the people it affects as well as those who will deliver on it. Add someone with no bias or axe to grind into the mix, and you will develop a truly effective plan.

I learned that you listen to those with the skills and experience, but you also consider the new and the different; that it’s ok to re-visit what might once have been considered crazy or just plain wrong for the business, as things change, and the ‘right time’ comes along.

Just like every other area of the business, I learned that you have a system for planning that makes it routine, regular, consistent; that keeps you focused on the end goal, even when you need to adapt, or change your route.

A robust planning system keeps everyone in the business, focused and on track.  Since everyone knows where you’re all headed, there is less stress, and less chaos, which also saves you time and money. 

And of course, it gives you the opportunity to celebrate with your team when you reach your milestones and hit your targets.

Planning is fun.  Delivering your plan even more so.

Do one thing: Think about the planning you do in your business.  Is it a route map to your destination – your business Vision.  Are your team all engaged and involved? Do they know where you’re headed, and how you’re going to get there together.  Is it time you slowed down, to plan, to go faster?

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Marianne Page

Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)


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