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When a Plan Goes South

Even the best-laid plans can go awry. Discover how to handle these situations like a pro without breaking a sweat.

Working on the beach seems like a dream come true.

Turns out, there’s a whole lot that can go wrong with that dream. And I found that out the hard way…

As you may know, I have the luxury of working remotely, and running my company from the beach near my house. I was living the dream and I could pick my office venue for the day.

So, one day I decided to work from the beach. I set up everything I needed to make this happen. Clearly, I was ready to make the most out of it.

But the problem came when I sat down to start work.

You see, I was facing the sun… and it hammered me! I felt like I was melting!

I wanted to see this through, though. That’s why I resolved to simply melt in the sun. Who decides that kind of thing, right?

Another problem arose when my Zoom came on and then knocked off. Worrying about the intermittent connection was the last thing I needed.

I was melting and at the same time, I couldn’t get anything done on Zoom!

I had a choice to make:

I could either suffer through this plan, or develop a new one. 

That’s when I decided the car was a great place to resume my workday.

Every service business owner has experienced this at one time or another. They’ve had plans that just didn’t work out for whatever reason.

But like my example, you can’t let these little setbacks stop you. Learn what you should do if your best plans go south.

The Steps

You spent a long time ironing out the details for the perfect plan. But those plans don’t always work out. Check out these steps to take the next time you find your plans derailed:

Step #1 – Acknowledge That the Plan Went Wrong

How many times have you stood at the edge of a plan going wrong? You may have that moment where you think to yourself that this isn’t going to work out the way you envisioned. And you have a choice to make.

Choosing to put your head in the sand isn’t going to change the fact that your plan went wrong. When I was under that hot sun, giving myself pep talks wasn’t going to lower my body temperature. Pretending nothing was wrong wasn’t going to change my intermittent Zoom connection either.

You have to acknowledge that the plan went wrong before you can move on to the next step.

Step #2 – Stop Suffering Through the Plan

When a plan goes south, the last thing you want to do is to suffer through it. And yet, it happens with business owners all the time.

Perhaps a marketing strategy isn’t going according to plan. But rather than evaluating what’s going on and course-correcting for a new plan, they just power through it.

You aren’t winning any awards when you suffer through your Zoom going in and out like mine did on the beach. I had a choice to make then, and so do you.

It may be a little disappointing when a great plan falls to pieces, but that’s life. You can’t always control what may go wrong. There are a variety of factors at play, and any one of them may derail a plan.

However, you can control your response to a faltering plan. But, you can choose to stop using that plan that doesn’t work. And you can move onto the next step…

Step #3 – Evaluate What Went Wrong

Next, it’s time to ask yourself, “What will I do differently next time?”

That’s really the big question, right?

When I thought about how it all went wrong, it boiled down to a few components that were my downfall. Did I mention I was wearing black pants to the beach?

Remember that I also had connection problems when I ran Zoom? Hotspots are notoriously unreliable, and I found that out the hard way.

So, another factor that played into the downfall of my beach workplace was the internet. Or rather, it was relying on a connection that I had no control over that played a part in the plan falling apart.

Even in the best of times, there’s only so much control you have over your connection. But there were probably other ways that I could’ve secured that connection.

Step #4 – Create a New Solution

Finally, it’s time to create a new solution.

This is where your leadership skills will shine as a service business owner. You don’t let something like a plan falling apart derail your entire agenda.

In my case, I really do like looking at the ocean, so that was my goal.

To avoid a repeat of the “melting” problem, though, I resolved to do two things: bring an umbrella and not wear black pants!

I also saw that my phone had a stronger connection than the hotspot I used at the beach. So, the answer to the intermittent connection problem was to use my phone for Zoom the next time I was out there.

Creating a new solution allows you to pivot and continue with the work.

For example, suppose you have guys doing HVAC installs. When the job goes south, they don’t know what to do, so they call you. Instead of just saying the job’s gone south and leaving it at that, it’s time to re-evaluate.

Do you need another guy?

If they say, “the air handler won’t fit through the attic and it’s a tight fit!”, you know your starting point for re-evaluation.

Sending in another guy may not work, but you can create a new plan based on this new information.

Don’t Let Derailed Plans Stop You in Your Tracks

Plans don’t always work out the way that you want – that’s just the way it is sometimes.

Even great plans can go south without warning.

Look at my great plan to take in that stunning ocean view while working. It sounds like paradise, but there were some factors that I didn’t account for. And because of that, my plan quickly went south.

Does that mean that I need to ditch that dream altogether?

Not necessarily!

If you acknowledge that your plan isn’t working, you are in a position to take action about it. From there, it’s time to pinpoint the problems in the initial plan so that you can create a new one.

Plans are wonderful when everything happens the way you envision it. But as service business owners, you need to prepare yourself for those instances when things don’t go according to plan. And be flexible enough for some course correction to reach your current goal.

Are you hungry for more tips on leadership in the service business? CEO Warrior can help.

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