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Planning through a Pandemic

2020 is a different kind of year, and that takes a different kind of planning.

In the past ten years, I have had a lot of simultaneous priorities. Getting derailed and having to switch gears drastically seems to be my only constant. Back in March, I felt almost prepared for that massive upheaval we all went through.

As we look ahead to the end of 2020 or begin planning 2021’s strategy, it is hard to set targets and goals, because we don’t know where we are going to be. Will children be in school? Will we go back to a lock-down? Will things start to open up? What about the economy? With so many unknowns, what does planning look like?

Start with a list of goals, just like you normally would. For some, this begins with a SWOT analysis, post-it notes and word association exercises. Whatever it is, do what you normally do to begin planning.

The difference is, this time write out 2-4 contingencies. Write a plan for everything being as usual, write a second plan for everything being in lock-down, and write a third and possibly fourth plan with life being somewhere in the middle.

This will work nicely on a large piece of paper or board where you can write the plan out in a linear model. As you discuss changing circumstances, draw lines to show how you’d switch things up on the spot. Also, make a list of priorities so if we do go onto another lock-down and you are not working at full steam, priorities and focus will already be decided upon. No need to start getting buy-in and losing direction or momentum.

Essentially, make the tough decisions in advance.