“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” (Joseph Campbell)
“Stillstand ist der Tod” – “Stagnation means death” (Herbert Grönemeyer – German musician)
“Why still planning? - Take change as something natural not something which works against your planning. Incorporate it into your thinking.”
My mantra is and has always been that “planning is important” and key for your life and business. But it is also true that “Change is always there” and you cannot avoid it. Thus I asked myself how can both work together.
There are situations like sickness, natural disasters which come unforeseen and will have an effect on your plans. Still you are expected to achieve your goals irrespective of what is happening. You will get into situations which you haven’t planned, like job opportunities which suddenly appear and you have to decide very quickly if it fits with you.
When I was working at Ford I did not list purchasing as the department I dreamed of working for. However when I was asked to join them I rather saw the benefits at the time and also the fact that I had nothing to loose. If it wouldn’t have fit it still would have been a great experience and I could have returned to engineering or do something else.
Thus one benefit of change is the fact that if offers new opportunities which you have either never thought of or which are just the opportunities you were waiting for:
“Live with change and take the opportunities which are offered by it!”
On the other hand it is important to plan a bit as it gives you the feeling of certainty, but you need to accept that there is no guarantee that your plan will work.
Thus it is important to allow certain flexibility in your planning. A negotiation should be well planned and prepared in order to have a good start, knowing your objectives and understanding the overall situation. However it would be devastating if you couldn’t handle any change during the negotiation or even at the beginning. You cannot predict the outcome as there are too many variables.
So change and planning might work together if they run hand in hand and you appreciate both benefits and its challenges.
The main difference is that planning is coming from yourself and change is an outside factor. To find the right balance is the challenge and the fun of life!
There are a few things you can do to incorporate change into your planning.
As there are:
- Have a buffer time in your daily schedule
- Identify risks to your business as good as possible
- Put money away while you have an exceptional run which is beyond your expectation:
- You could draw a line starting from your budget:
- 5% above budget, use money for additional R&D to reinvest in your business
- 5% – 10% above your budget, save it in your bank account for bad times and unexpected changes or something else
- Have several options for your negotiation / business meeting / …be aware that different circumstances may lead to a different result. Use a checklist to work with.
Everyone will cope differently with the reality but it is important to realise that change is something positive which enriches your life as planning helps you to get control over a bit of it.
Make yourself and your business ready for change and don’t forget the plan for it