“Plan B” is NOT Failure

I was talking with a policy nonprofit in September and they were explaining all of the activities they planned to initiate after Hillary won the election. I asked, “What happens if she doesn’t win? What’s Plan B?” Their response: “We’re hoping that we don’t even have to consider that option!”

Last week, I was talking with a lobbyist about a piece of policy legislation that – surprisingly – didn’t pass. He had suggested to his client that they have a “Plan B” – a plan of action just in case the legislation didn’t pass. The client wouldn’t hear of it. To them, having a “Plan B” was the equivalent of admitting that failure might be possible. Now, three months after the legislation didn’t pass, his client is scrambling to put together a new plan – in a very short timeframe and with limited resources. It is not an ideal situation.

I total get the urge to ignore that “the impossible” might happen. I understand how “Plan B” can be seen as admitting to possible failure. And yet, having a Plan B in place – and even Plans C, D, and E – can ensure that you are prepared for almost anything. By asking those tough, “What if…?” questions, you’re actually even better prepared for the implementation of Plan A, and the ultimate achievement of your goal. And then everybody wins.

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