Getting to Plan B

In life, sometimes God throws a wrench into our carefully-laid plans.  We set out our goals on paper, and we make a list of intermediate steps to reach that goal.  Or, we spend six months on a business plan for our new business, only to find that it doesn’t work when we launch our business. 

Detour

We work hard on Plan A, but Plan A rarely happens.  When it does, it’s great.  But when it doesn’t, we have a tendency to do a couple of things:

  • Give up on our Plan altogether
  • Blame someone else for messing up our Plan A
  • Blame God for messing up our Plan A

I recently read a book called “Getting to Plan B,” by John Mullins and Randy Komisar, who teach at the London Business School and Stanford University.  They write, “If the founders of Google, PayPal or Starbucks had stuck to their original business plans, we’d likely never have heard of them.”  Changes happen in business (and in life), and we need to make sure that we adapt to that change.

Mullins and Komisar say that you make a profitable business by throwing out your Plan A almost immediately, and getting to Plan B as fast as possible.  You do this by putting your Plan A through rigorous trials, have a “dashboard” for your company by which you track the metrics of Plan A, and making swift corrections to Plan A in order to adapt to the data that you’re receiving from your dashboard.

We do this in life, too.  “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps” (Proverbs 16:9).  We set goals, we make our life plan (or, in my case, a “strategic plan” for our family), but in the end, the Lord is sovereign over our lives.

This doesn’t negate the necessity of making plans or goals.  Those without goals or plans often are those that are tossed about  by the winds of life.

Here is my suggestion about how to approach planning and goal-setting in life:

  • Spend time on Plan A – spend time setting goals, and making a plan.  This sets the initial direction of your life.  It gives you something to work toward.  Make sure you seek God as you put together your Plan A.
  • Prepare yourself for Plan B – expect that not everything about Plan A will go according to plan.
  • Trust in God to direct – “In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:6).  If you follow after God, he will direct you. 
  • Adjust your plans to fit God’s – When God does direct you, adjust your Plan A to fit.  You will never succeed if your Plan A runs contrary to God’s plan.

Questions: How’s your Plan A going?  How has God changed your Plan?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.


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Title: Getting To Plan B
Authors: John Mullins & Randy Komisar
Publisher: Harvard Business Press