Finding Balance and Focus – Contingency Planning

When we have other people dependent upon us in our personal lives, such as children, a significant other, or aging parents, it’s essential we develop contingency plans in case we’re not available, whether it’s for an afternoon or permanently.   

This includes planning for every type of contingency that can occur, thinking through and writing down how it can be mitigated, then using the plan as a back drop for the critical conversations that need to take place and as input to whatever documents are required.  

The issues that require this type planning aren’t limited to our personal lives, they occur in our professional lives and run the gamut from being double booked for two important meetings, taking a needed vacation, earning a well-deserved promotion, or being diagnosed with a long-term illness. 

We’ve all worked at more than one company where everything stops when the owner or CEO is not there. either because no one is empowered or has knowledge of the details necessary to proceed.

Contingency planning requires more than just developing a succession plan – it requires we take the time to develop our team and communicate with our team that we’re doing this on purpose.  

If we find ourselves in the position where we have to cancel a dentist appointment to go to a meeting, or if we forego a planned vacation because we have to be at work, we haven’t been successful in developing the necessary contingency plans.  Additionally, if we have a talented team member who we can’t promote because there’s no one on her team who can serve in her current position, we haven’t emphasized to our team the necessity of them putting the same type of plans in place.

Contingency planning is a responsibility we have to everyone in our personal and professional lives who’s counting on us – let’s not let them down.

Leah Ward-Lee is a management consultant and business writer based in Dallas, Texas and the author of $1,000 Start-Ups.  Her next book, The Executive’s Toolbox, will be released in 2017.

Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant. Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.


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