Tough people…

primary care training_NHS_Tough people...

The one question none of them can answer is; ‘what happens if you can’t’. That’s the big flaw.

Every one, of the wanna-be prime ministers, is banging on about how they will deliver Brexit. Some, setting themselves a deadline.

Most of them have a straight-line strategy; ‘renegotiate the deal’… that the EU say they won’t re-heat.

Over 100,000 jobs in Germany depend on pan-EU supply-chains. The gamble is transparent. And, if it fails…

… what happens then? Crashing out isn’t an option. Talk-tough, sure but when it comes to it, ‘no-deal’ is a deal that has to be negotiated.

Travel, security, bank passport-ing, the return of nationals to their home countries, will be on the agenda and not least, our ongoing financial commitments; pensions, projects, regulation, alignment and what-not.

WTO terms are the flat-line, default basics for international trade. We only make 20% of what we consume, the rest is imported. There are a lot of misconceptions and it will get complicated.

With possible exception of Rory Stewart, as far as I can see, none of the hopefuls has a Plan B. To have a Plan B is seen, by politicians, like admitting Plan A might not work. A weakness.

They think, being uncompromising makes them stronger. Actually they look like plonkers. An all or nothing, throw of the dice… it’s bonkers.

A Plan B makes a lot of sense, it always does.

Every manager knows; nothing ever goes to plan and if you don’t have a contingency… they chances are, you’re going to need a contingency.

Planning for less than success, is a sign of strength, not weakness. A sign of mature judgement.

A back-up plan is sensible, not because your primary plan will fail, but in case something unpredictable happens.

What? Dunno, let’s guess.

What does our new prime minister do if EU solidarity breaks down and half the 27 want a renegotiation and the rest don’t? All the Plan A’s are predicated on EU solidarity…

The value of the Euro collapses, the far-right makes disruptive progress in France, the US gets protectionist…

What if Greece or Italy go flaky? What if German car makers put pressure on their Chancellor to start again.

What if there is a collapse in supply chains? What if our economy slows down and there is a flight of capital and business?

What if the public react, like they did during the Poll-Tax debacle?

Is this unlikely, likely, fantasy? Dunno. But, I do know… preparing for the unpredictable makes sense in business, is vital in the NHS and an absolute in geo-politico-economics.

A Plan B should not be a second-rate plan. A proper Plan B is as thought through as the principle strategy.

Business is often portrayed as being ready to risk all. That’s not true. The business of business is the avoidance of risk and embarking on a new venture without a ‘what-if-plan’ is plain reckless.

Having a contingency plan is not feeble thinking. Starting anything important or new, without one, is stinkin-thinkin!.

Plan A is the current primary-goal, figured-out around the knowns and a guess at the unknowns. Taking into account the political, economic and social forces, that can disrupt the best of well-laid plans, means the what-if thinking has to be done and Plan B has to be as oven-ready as Plan A.

Students of management know, plans have to be realistic, achievable and measurable. I’m not sure that’s what we are seeing, unfold, in Westminister.

I’m beginning to wonder if a Plan B is enough. Going back to square-one, Plan C-D-E or F, is looking righter by the day.

Proper planning will involve contingencies for when things don’t go to plan. It doesn’t mean you’re willing to give up, it really means you are nimble, tactical, strategic and determined.

Talking tough might make you feel tough. Talking tough might make you think you look tough.

The truth is, good managers are truly tough and resilient because they plan for failure with the same skills they plan for success.

Thought times don’t last but tough people do.

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Reproduced at by kind permission of Roy Lilley.