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What If A Bird Hits A Plane?

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May 15, 2019

Raise your hand if you’ve got a travel delay horror story. 

From sleeping in the baggage claim terminal at JFK to a six hour travel extended layover because a bird flew into the plane and the airline can’t seem to find a back up . . . we all have our own best worst version.

Despite our inflated emotional responses; disruptions, delays and derailments are a natural and constant life experience.  Rarely do we possess a fool proof prediction that the outcome we imagine, or the goal we set will actually come to pass.

So this week we’re exploring, what does it means to have a back up plan?

Well, the first question is: do you need one?  My mother would say, “yes, absolutely.  Always have a plan B.”  But, this organizational behavior and human decision process study, argues that having a back up actual harms goal pursuit.  Rather, the unexpected downside of being prepared for failure results in a reduction in the “perceived uncertainty” of a situation thereby limiting the effort expended on achieving a goal or overcoming a challenge. 

Next, define your BATNA.  Unless you are familiar with the wonderful, wide world of negotiation strategy, perhaps a BATNA sounds like a sport or medical device.  It’s actually an acronym for Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement aka the “standard against which any proposed agreement should be measured.” 

Its most basic premise encourages the adoption of a Sci-Fi mindset in which you imagine the many multiple universes of outcomes to a negotiation in order to plan for the contest at hand.  It’s quite similar to a forecasting strategy.  While your company might lack the capacity to predict the future, entities can certainly plan for or anticipate a variety of potential outcomes in crafting organization growth or sustainability plan.

Finally, just like travel delays, overcoming unexpected detours  often boils down to good or bad timing.  (Just ask the inventors of the hover board). It is at this point we are forced to decide between recalibrating our plan or calling it quits.  It is in these moments when we test our individual and collective resilience and our propensity to thrive. 

Though the above-referenced scholarship warns against having a back up plan, those who live in the turbulent world of entrepreneurship know that by planning for worst and experiencing the best is how we get by. 

Plus, a little help from friends like the #ThursdayGathering community doesn’t hurt either 😉


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