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Do You Really Need a Plan "B" If You Have No Plan "A"?

By Art van Bodegraven | 08/11/2017 | 12:08 PM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.


I am as guilty as anyone of universally recommending that everyone have a Plan "B" for every situation.  And, that one shouild never walk down a dark alley alone without knowing exactly how to get out - and how long one has to make the move once a decision to decamp has been taken.

Of course, those presume, imagine, suppose, that there is an "A" plan beng executed, or that going down the alley was a conscious choice.

Too many of us, I fear, are purely reactive in doing our jobs, SCM or otherwise, just going with the flow.  Many will, to their shock and awe, lose their jobs.  That's the fallout from a personal decision.  Perhaps the laggard is merely reflecting his enterprise's culture.  I'd not advertise that fact, but I'd surely polish up the ol' cv and crank up the personal contact network to help gain entry to the new real world out there.

Unless you think there is something noble and uplifting about going down with the ship.

La Diva, as you might suspect, has a strong Plan"A". It's to perform, with possibilities for huge success and probabilities of low earnings and disappoinrtment.  Her Plan "B" includes writing and directing - content development and management in performing arts.  It does not rule out opportunistic Plan "A" elements.  

Yep, there is a Plan "C", as well.  It involves teaching, and probably not untold riches.  But, it permits that opportunistic borrowing, too, from, both "A" and "B" for professional and economic reasons.

She's miles more talented than most competitors, yet has two layers of backup for the future.  I'm betting that someone so determined will be successful, perhaps in fields not yet revealed to us.

And, how much time, money, and thought have gone into your plans?

Realistically, strategies sometimes fail; plans can go all pear-shaped.  Part of each needs to be exit triggers, conditions, and processes.  When a shortfall or sea change interferes, the solution is not to throw everything into the air and ad lib one's way into bankruptcy or acquisition.  It's a matter of making - and  - executing - the next plan, personally, professionally, and/or organizationally.

I'll suggest - strongly - that even a plan that doesn't pan out is superior to bobbing like an errant champagne cork on the open seas.  Weaving is not a useful skill, btw, when bobbing no longer works.



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About Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven (1939 - 2017) was Managing Principal of the van Bodegraven Associates consultancy and Founding Principal of Discovery Executive Services, which develops and delivers supply chain educational programs. He was formerly Chair of the Supply Chain Group AG, Partner at The Progress Group LLC, Development Executive at CSCMP, Practice Leader with S4 Consulting, and a Managing Director in Coopers & Lybrand's consulting practice. Concentrating in supply chain management and logistics for over 20 years in his 50+ year business career, he has led ground-breaking strategic, operational, and educational projects for leading US and global clients. Art was principal co-author of DC Velocity's Basic Training monthly column for a decade, and was the principal co-author, with Ken Ackerman, of Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management, the definitive primer in the field. His popular blog, The Art of Art, has been a staple of DC Velocity's web site since its inception.



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