September 1, 2011
News & Opinion: What's Your Plan B?
When we have an idea, or work on a project, it can get absorbed into us. We dream of what it will be like when realized, and imagine all the great things that will happen because of its creation. Eventually, it can be hard to separate our imagination from the unknown variables of reality. Nonetheless, reality wins. The idea launches, and the results might not be what we expected. No problem, we'll just fire up Plan B. Wait, do we have a Plan B? I've been a big fan of David Kord Murray since reading his book Borrowing Brilliance, and meeting him in person when he spoke at our LeaveSmarter event during the time of that book's launch. He's an incredibly smart guy (yes, an actual rocket scientist!), and also human enough to have experienced a rollercoaster ride of life's curve balls, finding simply effective ways to deal with them along the way. Now, he shares his insight with us again in his new book, Plan B: How to Hatch a Second Plan That's Always Better Than Your First. Murray states that most strategic plans fail. Look again at the beginning of this post. Sound familiar? Usually, we get so wrapped up in the perceived quality of our ideas and plans that we don't see that we might need an alternative. With the speed of change in our lives, based on technology, the economy, and social forces, we have to be more flexible than ever, while still maintaining strong footing in whatever discipline we operate from. This book helps you find that balance. Murray states, "Business models, put simply, are solutions to problems. And business are created and evolve by solving new problems or finding new ways to solve existing problems...Taking the time to understand the nature of the problem you've identified is like laying the footings for a foundation. The footings for a large skyscraper are concrete and steel pilings that are driven deep into the soil so that the building rests on solid bedrock, far beneath the surface, and not on the less stable topsoil that may buckle under the weight of a large structure. Finding the root cause of the problem you want to solve acts the same way for a business plan." By identifying the root cause, and fully understanding why it exists, how it might change, and how you can help solve it, will create a stronger Plan A. Recognizing the need for flexibility and analyzing areas of change within that plan is what Murray refers to as the Plan B. Filled with many case studies of large corporations, social media startups, and even rock climbers, Murray takes us on a thorough investigation about our purpose, intent, and understanding of what we're trying to accomplish in our business, ideas, and life. Read this book!