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Contingency plans are more work, but they help you to forge ahead

In this article, Nancy appreciates the benefit of contingency planning, particularly in the current environment we are working in.

Quite a few years ago, during a visit to New Zealand, my mother-in-law suggested we go for a little walk in the bush near her house. This ‘little walk’ turned out to be 6 hours of steep climbing, up a mountain range and crossing rivers by hopping over stones. I was not happy. I was wearing regular sneakers and spent more time looking down trying not to slip rather than appreciating the scenery. Since then, whenever I get asked to go for a walk by anyone from my husband’s family, I wear my trusty heavy-duty hiking boots, just to be prepared!

Recently, I thought of my hiking boots when I was asked for my opinion on a learning strategy for a project due to go live in a few months.  Key stakeholders have a strong desire for face to face training, which is justified for this particular group of trainees.  However, with the second round of lockdown for Victorians, it is hard to predict what can and can’t be done in terms of face to face training delivery. My advice to the team is to plan for all likely scenarios. This may mean more work up-front, however it is much better to be prepared for the worst-case scenario and deliver a successful outcome for the project. The alternative is to continually scramble and make frequent changes based on daily Covid updates / regulations, this will cause confusion and a loss of direction.  In this example it may mean creating instructional videos, documentation, and ensuring the participants have the technical means to attend webinars.  It also means booking rooms and working through logistics that may not be needed – more work, but prepared for all possible scenarios.

So, if you are not sure of what’s ahead of you, make a decision based on available information and be prepared with your contingency plan or plans.  A decision is necessary, as it provides direction in times of uncertainty.  The benefit of going through lockdown a second time, is that we have experience with it and are in a better position to work within the restricted conditions.

As for walks with my mother-in-law, in her defence, she recently completed a 14 day (293km) walk across the United Kingdom at 69 years of age, therefore, to her a 6 hour walk really is a ‘little walk’.

References

For more info on the Coast to Coast Walk: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coast_to_Coast_Walk

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