What do you do when things aren’t working as planned?

Panicking or shutting down and not trying something different doesn't work when all eyes are on you.

You have to be ready to try something else, but what?

7 Strategic Thinking Questions When Things Aren't Working

When things took an unexpected turn the other day, I mentally flew through various strategic thinking questions trying to comes up with ideas to adjust what we were doing.


While I didn’t start with a formal group of questions, here are seven strategic thinking questions that helped me quickly identify potential changes to the plan and settle on the best possibilities:

  • Is there something that IS working that I can work with more?
  • Can I take something else I had planned and use a piece of it to fit the new expectation?
  • Is it possible to scrap everything planned and start over again quickly?
  • Can we jump ahead to something already planned?
  • If we go with a different plan, how can I contribute to furthering progress toward our objective?
  • Does someone else have a better idea than I do?
  • How can I convince everyone else to go with my better idea?

Yes, it can be scary to find yourself in a new situation where the usual things aren’t working. For more on that, see this Brainzooming blog post on getting outside your comfort zone.

When you have solid planning (maybe even over-planning), good strategic thinking questions to identify ways to adapt, and an appreciation for flexibility, unexpected events become a wonderful opportunity for learning and developing. - Mike Brown

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