We all need a BUP. A back up plan.
Life and business don’t always go the way we thought (and hoped) it would. Sometimes your BUP becomes your brilliant plan; you just didn’t know it when you created it.
Think about a time you thought you were on course then something popped up and required you to change direction, without a backup plan you are essentially having to create a new plan. One of the teams that I worked with as a facilitator was a committee of about 12 different non-profit groups all providing services to families in some way or another. Their big project was a community expo which would involve numerous speakers, events for youth and families, a trade show and more. The event that spanned over two full days and one evening involved a lot of planning, and I was the facilitator of that process. One of the main reasons that this event was such a huge success was that:
a) The agencies formed a strong alliance and commitment to each other and this project, and therefore became champions for it. There was a clear vision of what the event would look like, and everyone’s role was defined.
b) There was a backup plan. In fact there were even back up people. The agencies had a primary stakeholder at each of the meetings and sharing information back to their own organization, but, they also assigned a back up person so that the agency was always represented at the planning meetings and were never out of the loop. Keeping them in the loop heighted the passion for the event, commitment to tasks and a stronger sense of accountability. There was also back up plans for the event (e.g. in the event of equipment failure, or a speaker didn’t show up), and a backup plan if the funds needed to host the event were not achieved by the time of the event. One of the planning challenges was arranging bus transportation to and from the rural outlying and remote communities. We created a backup plan should there be a problem with people missing the bus. Every detail had a “just in case” provision.
c) Then, we did a review and learn after the event. The planning committee celebrate their wildly successful event and then answered these four questions:
a. What went well?
b. What was a challenge?
c. What did we learn?
d. What will we do differently next time?
The fourth question essentially became a back up guideline for future events.
As you proceed with planning for your team, making a change in policy or a program, initiating a new product or service, consider your BUP. You may not need one but if you do and don’t have one you may experience BUP regret.