Some time ago one of my business friends contracted with a large provider of software to have a new system installed for his company. Based on this vendor’s promises, and their size and history, my friend was assured that with an investment of $250,000 and six months of implementation his company would be running more efficiently.
Fortunately, my friend was experienced and wise enough to realize that unexpected complications can and often do occur in putting new systems in place. So rather than presuming everything would proceed smoothly without a hitch, he prepared for the worst. He was not being pessimistic; he was being realistic – as Murphy’s Law states, “If things can go wrong, they will.”
Months into the process, my friend discovered the six-month timetable would not be reached. The vendor had to concede they were at least a year away from a reasonable implementation date.
Wisely, my friend had chosen to continue running his existing system as a backup plan, keeping it functional until the new system proved to be as efficient as promised. Because he had kept a “Plan B” in place as a contingency, a potential crisis was averted.
This was a lesson another friend learned in a different way when he was an assistant editor working on a newspaper. Working on the front pages of the newspaper one Saturday morning, he became alarmed when breaking news suddenly turned his carefully thought-out plans upside-down. Fortunately, the managing editor had stopped by just to see how things were progressing and was able to come to my friend’s aid, getting the newspaper to the presses on time.
Accustomed to expecting the unexpected, the senior newspaper executive offered this admonition to my friend: “Always have a Plan B.”
In the case of my business friend, the “unexpected” was that the salesperson for the software vendor had made a commitment the company could not fulfill. However, even if the assurances had been reasonable, there was always a possibility that some other obstacle could arise to disrupt the schedule.
That is why the Bible advises caution in planning and preparing for the future. For instance, Proverbs 14:15 teaches, “A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.”
Another passage also addresses the importance of anticipating sudden changes. “Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that, build your house” (Proverbs 24:27). In other words, ensure your long-term provisions – whether for your company or your household – and then focus on lower priorities.
My business friend understood that although the new software system would result in significant improvements, it was essential that his company’s productivity not be disrupted in the meantime. Having a good backup plan can prevent things from backing up unnecessarily!
Copyright 2013, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from “Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx,” a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more about Integrity Resource Center or to sign up for Rick’s daily Integrity Moments, visit www.integrityresource.org. His book, How to Prosper in Business Without Sacrificing Integrity, gives a biblical approach for doing business with integrity.
CBMC INTERNATIONAL: Jim Firnstahl, President
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TEL.: 520-334-1114 ▪ E-MAIL: [email protected]
1. Do you ever utilize backup plans in your work – at least having them ready in the event they are needed? What would be an example?
2. Have you or someone you know ever experienced a time when failure to have a “Plan B” in place proved to be disastrous? If so, what was the situation – and what was learned from it?
3. Why might it sometimes be unwise to accept a promise or commitment from a salesperson? Do you think devising a backup plan would indicate your lack of trust in that individual or the company he or she represents? Explain your answer.
4. How can faith in God be put into practical use during the planning process, especially in anticipating the need for a suitable backup plan? Give an example if you can.
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 11:3, 16:3,9, 19:2, 21:5, 24:30-34, 27:1; Matthew 6:33-34