If you have ever been faced with a problem, keep reading. If you have ever been faced with a problem that does not have an immediate and perfect solution, keep reading. If you have ever been faced with a problem that requires at least one temporary solution, keep reading. If you have never been faced with a problem, call me – I want to know you.
Okay, let's be realistic. No one's going to call because we all encounter problems (challenges, struggles, opportunities - whichever word you prefer). And as I write this, and have faced my share of problems over several decades, one thing that's always boggled me is how many of my "temporary" solutions ended up becoming "permanent".
I am not sure how I didn't figure this out many "problems" ago, but the last step for creating a back-out plan often gets missed on my to-do list. And then, of course, I find myself surprised when months or years have gone by and I am still operating with the "temporary" solution, which usually creates a host of new problems. And then, I get to start the whole cycle over again.
I assume that I am not the only one who misses the back-out plan step. In fact, when you look around in search of "temporary" becoming "permanent", this becomes somewhat glaring. Admitting this is an issue for me, and recognizing that in my rush to get rid of any problem, I may not think it all the way through, I am forced to begin changing my approach.
Instead of leaving the back-out plan to the end of the discussion, it needs to move to the beginning and get as much attention as the solution itself. Ask questions like the following:
- How long do we plan to use this solution?
- How will we know when we can move forward or go back to the old way?
- How will we assess the risks of the temporary solution?
- How will we communicate this to everyone so they know their roles and expectations?
Just writing that last paragraph reminds me of why I skip this step. It feels like too much work. As I stated earlier, if I don't figure this out now, I am going to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. Yes, for those of you still reading, some say this is the true definition of insanity.
Do you have a back-out plan that works for you?