In Startups and Life, You Need Plan A, B, and Z

February 15 2012

That’s the title of a guest post by Reid published yesterday on TechCrunch.

He opens by noting the contradictory advice entrepreneurs receive, which parallels the career advice we all receive:

An entrepreneur receives lots of contradictory advice from really smart, experienced people. For example, you’ve probably been told to be both persistent and flexible; to have a clear vision you pursue relentlessly, and yet also to change your vision as the market changes. Simple, right?

This same tension pervades career advice. Some will tell you to think about where you want to be in ten years, work backwards, and construct a long-term career plan for realizing your ambitions. Others tell you that firm plans are like a straitjacket; they will blind you to unexpected breakout opportunities. It’s better, they say, to stay nimble and opportunistic.

Who’s right? Both are not only right, but critical. Entrepreneurs are flexibly persistent. The best entrepreneurs I’ve worked with engage in serious planning and strategy, but they do not set fixed plans.

Then he goes on to describe ABZ Planning:

Plan A is your current plan, your current thesis about how you can win in the marketplace.

Plan B is what you pivot to when you recognize that a new opportunity has more potential than the one you are working on.

Plan Z has two critical parts. First, identify how to measure when you’re tracking towards a worst-case scenario. Second, it’s the plan that tells you what to do should that happen.

It’s a great piece. We encourage you to read the whole thing over on TechCrunch.