The road was wet and dark as truck after truck entered what is known as the most dangerous tunnel in Southern California. Even under excellent conditions, most drivers have grown to fear its sharp curves and dips. On this cold evening, these drivers were unaware of what was about to take place. A fiery wreck consumed the lives of 2 people, and dramatically altered the lives of many others.
October 14th was a tragic night on the 5 freeway, just north of Los Angeles. In addition to the loss of human life, the closure of this freeway for several days prevented travel between LA and Northern California. As a major trade route that sees millions of dollar of cargo daily, shockwaves were sent through the business climate in Southern California.
Companies often face unanticipated challenges like these. Do you have a business plan ready to execute next week for an interruption in your supply chain, recession, terrorist attack, sudden drop in the stock marketing, or a spike in oil prices? The best businesses are ready. Many have even profited from events that destroyed or damaged their competition.
For companies that want to turn fatal blows into near-fatal blows, they must plan for the unexpected.
How do you plan for the unexpected? David Shechtman, who was on our radios show a few weeks ago, does just this. He calls it “Scenario Planning,”which involves drafting out various possible scenarios and planning for them.
Possible scenarios that exist for you may include:
1) If this new product does not gain traction in the marketplace, how will we react?
2) If our smallest competitor moves to a dominate position in the marketplace this year, how will we react?
3) If the trucks are not able to make delivery due to forces outside our control, how will we react?
4) If a key employee decides to leave and go to a competitor, how will we react?
When you have a plan for overcoming these setbacks, you can move forward without skipping a beat.
It’s likely you are very busy. If there was a quick way to plan for scenarios, would you be interested in hearing about it?
Use your lunchtime. Take your executive team to lunch and brainstorm everything which could go wrong. Create an exhaustive list without working through it.
At the end of the lunch, choose two scenarios and have your team jot down ideas for how to navigate those problems over the next week. Take them to lunch again in a week and discuss your ideas. Do this every week over the next few weeks and you will have planned for the unexpected.
If you foresee this meeting venturing off onto tangents, or you believe it will not be effective, hire a facilitator to manage these lunch meetings. If you’re not sure who to contact, contact us for recommendations.
Listen to our LIVE radio show this Friday at 4 pm PST at www.smallbusinesshour.com , where we’ll be interviewing the president of Bank of America Small Business. Call in to speak with us at (323) 443-6878 code: 226287