Expect The Unexpected
A Short Sharp Shock
A contradiction in terms? No - because I am not asking for the unexpected to have a ‘line item’ in the business plan (although there can be).
You can never plan the future by the past.
~ 💬 Edmund Burke
People First is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Planning for the unexpected is not to know the specifics of what is ‘barreling down the pike towards you’, but rather to understand that you can’t know everything and be agile in your response.
The Known | Unknown’ Model
Your business plan is likely focussed on what you know and what can be known (1). There are also things you know you don’t know, so you build that into the plan .. you might call the line item ‘contingency planning’ (2).
Meanwhile, ‘Unknown Knowns’ are almost certainly not part of the plan. Who will win the next election? What happens if two countries go to war? Important thinking. Many a debate in the local hostelry, but not part of the plan (3) … because pragmatism.
“If you try to account for everything in the plan, you’ll never finish the plan.”
This brings us nicely to that final quadrant. The ‘Unknown Unknowns’.
Those things that you don’t know, and likely neither do most other people. Once an unknown becomes known it is moved to quadrant 2 - and fits into your contingency plan OR it can be safely ignored - and moved to quadrant 3.
You might want to put ‘global pandemic’ into box 4 because you aren’t typically going to plan what your business is going to do in the event of a global pandemic.
When it does occur, you need to decide if it is a ‘box 2’ or a ‘box 3’.
Potential Outcome A: It is not going to affect me, so I can ignore it - box 3.
Potential Outcome B: It is going to affect me, so I cannot ignore it - box 2.
How well do you think and plan for ‘unknown unknowns’?
How well did you think and plan for COVID?
Did you move the Known/Unknown of COVID into box 2 or box 3?
Was that the right decision?
Will your actions be different when the next ‘unknown unknown’ occurs?
How are you thinking and planning for
The Russian/Ukraine War?
Agility in thinking provides agility in planning which best prepares you for ‘unknown unknowns’.
Right now there is a 25% discount for the hardback book.