Dissing Plan B

success_and_failure Here’s a great quote by entertainer Steve Harvey …

“Don’t live by old sayings that don’t apply to you. For instance – ‘Have a Plan B.’ Having a Plan B means you believe that Plan A might fail. Having a Plan B requires that you put time and energy into what you could’ve been doing for Plan A to make it work. And if Plan A doesn’t work, guess what, get a new Plan A.”



There’s some real wisdom in his quote. We’ll look at it line by line:

“Having a Plan B means you believe that Plan A might fail.”


He’s emphasizing how much we have to believe in success, not in failure. We have to believe, in ourselves and in our plan, in order to succeed. The first person who has to be on board with our plan – the first person who has to follow us so to speak – is ourselves. If we’re not in line, we’re in trouble!

Throw away the security blanket

There’s another thing that comes to light with this quote. Think Linus van Pelt, Charlie Brown’s best friend and Lucy’s younger brother. He never went anywhere without his security blanket. 

We can’t succeed if we hold on to our security blanket, or blankets, as the case may be. We have to throw it away once and for all if we’re going to succeed bigg.

A lot of times we hold on tightly to that security blanket just in case. Just in case, things don’t go as planned.

Well, here’s the brutal truth – no matter how good we get at planning, things never will go as planned.

That’s when we have to hunker done. We have to double our efforts to make our plan work. We have to overcome all the obstacles that we will face and keep the faith.

The covenant with Nature

We must keep on believing that we will succeed because we have no choice but to succeed. When we reach that level of resolve, the forces of Nature begin to conspire with us, instead of against us.

It’s not a miracle. It happens too frequently to think of it that way.

It is no accident. Because that implies a randomness that doesn’t exist.

It’s isn’t luck because it happens more often to people whose thoughts lead to certain behaviors. The more determination we have, the luckier we get!

It’s more like a covenant. Nature says, “This is how much you have to believe. Here is what you have to let go of in order to have my blessing.”

Now, let’s look at the next line …

“Having a Plan B requires that you put time and energy into
what you could’ve been doing for Plan A to make it work.”

Setting priorities

Since we only have a certain amount of time, we can’t afford to waste it if we’re going to succeed bigg.  It’s all about priorities.

We tend to think that:

  • we’re super-human
  • we can do ten things at once
  • we don’t need to focus on just one or two major objectives at a time

The bare naked truth is … all of that is a lie!

We do have to determine what is most important right now in pursuit of that bigg success of which we dream. Then we have to focus all our energy on only that.

In the last part of his quote, he says,

“If Plan A doesn’t work, get a new Plan A.”

So the question is, how do you know if Plan A isn’t working?

One way to judge it is if you keep running into the same wall over and over again.

You’ve tried to climb over it.

You’ve tried to go around it on one side.

Then you tried the other side.

You tried to dig under it.

You even tried to blast through it.

You’ve tried five times, but the doggone wall hasn’t budged.

Plan B is like Step 2

It may be time to start thinking of your alternatives. And here’s where we deviate slightly from Steve Harvey. Because we think Plan B is like Step 2 on your path to bigg success. You have to have a clear picture of what bigg success looks like to you before you start. Then you need to map out the steps to get there.

With your plan in place, you’ll focus all your time and energy on Step 1 before you begin to take the second step. So we’ve thought about it before we start, but we don’t worry about it until it’s time.

We think Plan B is just like that. Before we start working on Plan A, we should have thought about Plan B. We’ve prepared for the contingencies. But that’s where we stop.

And the important distinction is this ….

Plan B doesn’t send us back where we were before. Plan B moves us ahead in a way that Plan A didn’t. It makes that wall insignificant.

The only path to bigg success

But it doesn’t pay to spend too much time thinking about Plan B because the wall we face probably won’t be the wall we expect. So now we’re back on track with Steve Harvey.

Think about it a little, but don’t dwell on it. While you’re pursuing Plan A, keep Plan B out of your head. Because you have to if you want to succeed bigg.

Your mindset has to be, “This is my only path to bigg success.” By thinking that way, you will find bigg success. 


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Thank you for checking in with us today. Join us next time as we begin a two-part series on the ten early warnings of a business in trouble. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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(Image in today's post by cobrasoft)

2 replies
  1. Fred
    Fred says:

    Giving words of advice on plan A and Plan B-type of approaches appeared to me to be the “armchair general” or the “Monday Morning Quarterback” of entrepreneurs and small business owners. By that, I mean that you should examine critical operations that succeeded or did not by the type of planning that was done. Logistics and planning are the specialty of key operations where many lives are at stake.
    Military invasions and assaults fall into this line. Cases in point–Look at Desert Storm in the early ’90s–and you will see that planning with all sorts of alternatives (Plan A, B, etc.) led to making the right decisions depending upon what the outcome of certain other tasks that were being executed at the time. Also, look at operations that were created without a Plan B–case in Point, Operation Market Garden in 1944. In this case, a British Field Marshall drew up an egotistically-devised plan without any Plan B, and the result was a major setback (over 10,000 casualties without the main objective at Arnhem being taken) for the Allies, which is known as “A Magnificent Disaster” (David Bennett wrote the book with that title about the invasion and its lack of a Plan B).
    I, myself, have been a long proponent of Plan B for the right reason, done in the right way, and executed along the results for Plan A as they occur (remember: the best laid plans of mice and men…). And that has accounted for much success–but more, for avoiding the unrecoverable failures.
    I suggest, in my opinion, that you should devise your Plan A and put more time in creating that plan, as well as possible Plan B. Your podcast and Mr. Harvey’s statements only bring to my mind that your planning was too quickly done, without being thorough enough, to include a Plan B for the right reason, and which should be implemented when monitoring the progress of your Plan A (your podcast suggests that no one is measuring or monitoring Plan A).
    As a combat veteran who was forced to implement Plan B many times to save the lives of my men and to accomplish the mission, I tend to investigate the background of those who make such statements as were described in this podcast–most of the time, there is no military experience–just opinion.
    And, since this is merely my opinion offered to you from over 35 years of military and business experience, I will not argue with those who don’t want to be confused with facts. My Plan B?…to work with, and to improve, the process and planning that has proven successful over the years.
    BTW, I first listened to your podcast series when Doug Welch was interviewed on your show. I do follow Doug and have been doing so for over 3 years.
    Thank you,

  2. George Krueger
    George Krueger says:

    Fred –

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    The reason Steve Harvey’s quote resonated with me is a friend who became a multi-millionaire as a business owner. He left a job with a large corporation where he was on track for a C-level position. When he left, they gave him his Plan B – they told him he was always welcome back. He told me that having that security blanket almost kept him from succeeding. Because in his early days of business ownership, every time he faced significant adversity, that offer would come to his mind. Fortunately for him, he never accepted it.

    So the focus of this six-minute show really wasn’t planning. It’s about the mindset we must have once our planning is done and we move to execution.

    To try to allay any fears of me being an “armchair general” or “Monday morning quarterback”, I have been in the trenches of business ownership for about 27 years now and taught entrepreneurship at our local University for over 15. However, I do not have any military experience, but thank you for serving our country so nobly.

    In that time, I have witnessed hundreds, more likely thousands, of business start-ups and acquisitions. I have seen success and failure.

    When I have erred, I have erred by planning too much. “Ready, aim, aim, aim.” I have learned from this. However, I am still a strong advocate of business planning. I also believe that, the more we have at risk, the more time we should spend planning.

    But at some point planning must end so action can begin. Because that’s the only way we learn the reality of the situation we face. We recently launched a business with Contingency Plans from A to Z. However, when we got to market, we found that we really needed to revise Plan A. We would have never learned had we not launched.

    Because studies, focus groups, surveys, interviews, etc. are all valuable, but they are also all hypothetical. We’re asking “would” instead of “will.” We really only learn how our customers will respond when we ask them to spend their money.

    Like many factors that lead to success, there’s a delicate balance at play. We risk failure if we don’t spend enough time planning. We risk failure if we plan too much and never act. And once we act, we must use every ounce of energy to make our plan work.


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