2. Keep People First
If your organization needs to be agile and adaptable, then so do your people. Asking that of them, requires them to trust you. They need to know you are working to support them. Do everything possible to take care of them (e.g. updated sick leave policies, remote work) and help them take of care of each other (e.g. virtual coffee chats, support groups). Be open with them. Let them know how you are doing, what worries you and what gives you hope.
In an unstable world, your care, honesty and humanity are stabilizers. Humility and forgiveness will also be necessary. Mistakes will be made by you and others. Have the humility to acknowledge mistakes and the ability to forgive others when they do the same. Those traits maximize learning and are the springboard for moving forward.
3. Contingency Plans…Plural
Every plan should have several contingency plans. Gather your team and ask, “If we do X, what happens if we can’t travel this year? What if a key person has to care for a family member? What if we don’t have the funding we hoped for?” Keep asking those types of questions for every part of your best laid plans.
Once you’ve planned, set a monthly cadence for revisiting goals, pulse checking organizational morale and assessing the needs of customers and communities. Yes, every month. Depending on your context, maybe every week. The way to beat randomness is by being responsive. To do that, you need to be in tune with all your stakeholders. This won’t always lead to specific actions, but it will ensure you don’t miss the critical moments when you need to pivot.
4. Execute. Pivot. Repeat.
Contingency planning is easy compared to executing the contingency plan. To succeed you need people who can execute no matter what you’ll face tomorrow. You need people who can easily pivot. Identify those people in your organization. Do all you can to retain them. They are critical to your success because for the next six to twelve months, you’ll be running in spurts. That doesn’t mean lose sight of the long game, but what we’re facing now is a series of short games strung together, with pivots at each point. Followed by execution. Pauses to assess. Pivots if needed. Then more execution.