A few years ago I was watching a guy who loaded a few hundred balloons to his lawn chair to see how high they could lift him, a very cool sight.
Something that caught my attention was what he was carrying: a small rifle and a knife. I wondered why he would want them on this flight.
Well, duh, the rifle was to shoot any of the balloons, should he drift too high. The knife?
The knife was if he dropped the rifle.
At least Give It Some Thought
People talk about planning all the time and sometimes even follow through. But very few plan for things to go wrong, for something to stop working or for someone to not show up. And while we plan to succeed and train to win, the path to success is not always as straight as we would hope.
Cars break down, humans get sick and we have that increasingly unpredictable thing, weather. Any of these and other little surprises can get in the way of achievement and the goals we seek.
Even if you don’t have a full-fledged plan for when things do go all pear shaped, spend a few minutes thinking about what you would do if a boulder blocked the only access road to the event ( happened to me) , the celebrity everyone was clamoring to see doesn’t show, ( happened to me) or if you drop the rifle ( hasn’t happened to me, yet…).
As With Insurance, You Hope You Will Never Need It
It would be so wonderful if everything we plan comes off without a hitch. But the hitches are the interesting, if not fun, eventualities we all encounter. If an event was fantastic, we hear about for a few days and then off to the next. The really great and enduring stories are the disasters, the problems and the headaches- and, what happened then…
As you plan the next campaign, event, volunteer recruitment, adoption event, or lift-off of the lawn-chair, consider what you might do if something went wrong. Simply the contemplation of a problem will help tremendously, when it happens.
Even better, create an emergency response plan for all your programs; if nothing actually goes wrong, well that’s a story in and of itself!.
If you’d like help with your plan b or if you just want to get the narrative started, get in touch by email here or by voice on 310 828 6979.
Cindy Lauren is the Principal of Lauren Associates – non profit consulting
As well as advising Executives and Boards on all aspects of nonprofit management, the firm specializes in developing fundraising solutions for all sizes of organizations.
Image Credit:IMG_9529_me_up_balloon_chair by oaklandEarthGirl on Flickr.
Written while listening to: 17 June 2013 – 97 Bpm – Music to create flow.