Creating goals and then a plan of action to accomplish those goals are important functions of business management but certainly not the only ones.
Often overlooked in this series of tasks is the reality check, risk analysis or goal reassessment, particularly if some early assumptions are not exactly within the optimum range or there are many factors that are unknown or hazy.
This is especially true if the goal is one that requires a large investment or long-term commitment because if the project doesn’t succeed, it can negatively impact the health and viability of the company.
I often wonder if some entrepreneurs have a gene mutation caused by a few successes that make them become a legend in their own mind so they think they are infallible or, if they get in trouble, they will magically figure out a solution and triumph.
It is quite possible they fall in love with their idea, have an excess of enthusiasm and belief in their abilities that might blind them to signs they might not be well prepared in some way, are taking on too much risk or their timing is not right.
A critical part of an action plan is to reassess whether the assumptions are correct by developing a series of best-case and worst-case scenarios. The project comes into clearer focus as the unknowns become known, which should create a series of “go/no go” decisions while in the planning stage, well before large investments in time, effort and money are made.
If the reassessment shows serious doubts about the possibilities for success the project can then be stopped or put on hold while the investment is just a bunch of markings on a whiteboard, a spreadsheet or a series of sketches.
It takes a level of maturity to coldly assess and reassess whether a given project will meet the initial goal and return the desired outcomes, but it should be done early and often in the planning process before that gene gets mutated and the belief of infallibility sets in overriding caution.