Your 4th Plan

"Of the three plans you put in place, it's always the fourth that happens"

Experience recently shared discussing Russian mistakes throughout their Ukraine invasion from Maj Gen Tim Cross. Former head of the UK Defence supply chain.

The litany of Russian war errors during their criminal invasion of Ukraine are astonishing. What this planning insight above built on, was that Putin's command only had one plan. And barely an actual plan at that.

This military warning expressed above reminded me of a suggested Murphy's 6th Law;

If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.

Consider linking this with what leading historian Niall Ferguson considers the biggest lesson of the past; The Law of Unintended Consequences.

The mistake too many make, is knowing about these tropes, yet using them to dismiss planning as therefore an unnecessary waste of time.

As such, I subscribe to one of those annoying internet aphorisms here;

fail to plan is planning to fail.

We're nearly always in a Plan A go mode. Plan B though can range from non-existent through slightly sketched out to fully written up. Ever yourself even seen a Plan D of this post's title?

In this context I often cite one foundational element of the Harvard Business School CTC83 class. Which the person delivering it passed on to me a decade later.

Fast Failure.

It's a powerful framing.

When about to press the button on pursuing Plan A, know two crucial levers.

At what point you change tack. And have as early a timestamp as possible for making this switch decision.

The most common planning situation I encounter is with New Product Rescue.

A launch is falling flat.

There's a lot more to it than this alone, but to have this mindset in place certainly helps smooth the march towards where you want to go.

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