November 11, 2020

128: Planning in a Time of Uncertainty

It can feel almost impossible to plan for the future when we’re unsure how next week will be, let alone a year from now. Yet, our organizations and teams need to continue charging ahead, making progress toward future goals. How can we create useful plans during times of uncertainty?

In this episode, I talk through various strategies to support team and individual planning during times of great uncertainty. Whether you’ve already set annual goals or are just embarking on your goal-setting process, these strategies can help you and your team stay aligned as the world continues to change.

The full episode guide includes an overview of the planning approaches, questions for reflections and suggested actions. Get it when you join the Modern Manager community or purchase the full guide at

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Read the related blog article: 3 Approaches to Planning During Uncertainty

Key Takeaways:

  • Planning 1 year goals isn’t necessarily the optimal timeline even when we aren’t experiencing lots of uncertainty. When we plan 1 year out, we are making educated guesses because the farther out we plan, the less accurate we are.
  • Create scenarios and be explicit about the assumptions that underlie each scenario.
  • Look for activities and goals that remain consistent across the scenarios.
  • Identify early indicators and establish check-ins to remind you to assess whether your assumptions still stand.
  • Set minimum, target and optimal goals to allow for flexibility that accommodates the uncertainty.
  • Regularly communicate with your team to stay aligned as things change.
  • Try not to be wedded to any particular goal, strategy, or scenario. Accept that no one is performing their best right now. Flexibility and adaptability is a critical skill during uncertainty.
  • If you’re experiencing uncertainty in your daily life, prioritize your own actions or tasks so you spend your limited time on the most important items.
  • Schedule times for your highest priority items to help you stay focused on those tasks, even if your schedule ends up changing.

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