Good Leaders Plan for Failure


A business plan will never succeed if it is assumed to do so. Businesses who adopt this perspective fail to consider the many dangers and unforeseen circumstances that could shut down the entire system. Planning to fail differs from planning for failure. Even when planning for failure, the end goal is always a success.

Good leaders know that the path to success is paved with failed theories and notions and one can never be too certain of a certain response. So it’s crucial to prepare for failure in order to maximize the likelihood of success. This little but powerful business aide can go a long way in ensuring overall business success.

Let’s delve into three methods that can help organizations prepare for failure.

What is failure?

Setting out to do something yet coming up short is a typical definition of failure. People tend to think that determining whether a goal has been achieved is fairly easy and uncomplicated. But in reality, failure is often in the eye of the beholder.



Every failure is a success

Recover from failure by reframing it

Reframing is a coaching method for looking at a negative situation from a fresh perspective.

Think about how photographers rotate the lens to get diverse perspectives of the same shot. In the same way, we can alter how we view situations to see them differently.

Changing the word “failure” to one of these alternatives can change its meaning:

  • Learning opportunity: One of the greatest impediments to learning and progress is the fear of making mistakes. So, people often react defensively to setbacks and try to hide it or deny its existence. If you start to feel defensive after a failure, pause and try to reflect on what you can take away from the experience. Reframe the result.
  • Trial and error: The design-thinking method is based on the idea of “to fail fast” and learn from potential obstacles. From this point of view, mistakes are good ways to learn and achieve long-term success. Trial and error and measuring performance make it possible to improve processes over and over again.
  • Unfinished business: This line comes from a poem by Amanda Gorman. The main point? Something that looks broken or failed might just be a false impression of a process that isn’t quite finished.

Planning for failure in business

All the well-intentioned plans in the world won’t amount to much if a company forgets to plan for failure.

To overcome these issues, strategic preparation at each level of implementation is crucial.

  • Failure of vision: This happens when businesses don’t know the direction in which they’re heading. They tend to stick to a plan that won’t work and cannot comprehend the possibility of something going wrong.
  • Failure of tactics: These errors pertain to HOW. This happens when people are careless with data and when businesses don’t factor in miscalculations or pay attention to the finer points of work. Even if there is a good plan and a clear end goal, it’s a big red flag if a business can’t figure out how a possible debacle will affect it.
  • Failure of strategy: To put it another way: these are WHAT errors. They manifest themselves when businesses stick to a plan that doesn’t produce the desired outcomes. They can understand the why and how of the actions, but won’t get very far if they don’t pick the right strategy.

With TimeTrack, it’s possible to catch an error at its root. The software shift planning feature detects a mistake in the planning process; it alerts the user with a warning. In this way, the system clearly communicates that the person is either unavailable or unqualified without interfering with planning.





Flexible Duty Scheduling – TimeTrack

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Contingency plan vs. fallback plan

A contingency is an event that was not planned for. So, one can say that a contingency plan is good for both likely and unlikely things. A part of the project management plan; it tells you what to do if the risk comes to fruition.

The contingency plan is described in two ways below.

  • Such plans specify exactly what steps will be taken in case a threat arises.
  • If there are enough warning signs, an emergency response plan is put in place (risk trigger).

A part of the project management plan is the fallback plan, which lists the situations in which action must be taken.

The rescue plan will be used if the back-up plan doesn’t work. This would serve as a fallback to the fallback plan. In other words, residual risks typically require a fallback plan. The fallback plan and the contingency plan are the same thing. Only in cases where the contingency plan fails is a fallback strategy employed.

Planning for failure helps achieve success

Writing down goals and envisioning them can be helpful. What’s better is visualizing the steps, problems and solutions on the way to achieving those goals.

Start by training your mind to think long term in pinpointing as many potential obstacles and eventualities as you can.

Implementation intentions in planning for failure

An implementation intention is a predetermined response to an adverse circumstance. When there is an implementation intention plan for handling a dire situation, it means that a decision has already been made about what to do.

It’s a simple rule that boils down to knowing in advance what needs to be done if you go off track and what that means for everyone involved.

Studies have shown that implementation intention plans can improve time management strongly and consistently. Why? Because making a plan to act on a goal, even if that goal is to figure out what to do when it fails, can help everyone gain clarity.


Make going off track a part of the plan

Predicting what an organization does the first time is even better than scrambling for a solution and trying to remember what was done the last time. For implementation goals to work, it’s important to be able to see the plan (not just the goals), but also any possible problems and how to solve them.

The implementation plan needs to be specific to the goals for it to work. Be as clear and detailed as possible when planning.

For example, sometimes calendars and work schedules can get mixed up. Employees and managers may fail to be on the same page and time management becomes a problem. Using TimeTrack’s Project Time Clock is a highly practical approach for ensuring everyone is using their time wisely.



Project Time Clock

Plan for mental blockages

Implementation intentions can be encouraging when you’re demotivated or overwhelmed. Pre-planned responses can help you overcome mental obstacles.

If you feel demotivated or overloaded, the following can help:

  • Plan for the future.
  • Write in a notebook.
  • Take a stroll.
  • Do an activity that prompts you to get back to your goals. TimeTrack helps employees and enterprises track productivity and efficiency. Once employees have an ideal to-do list, their performance can be tracked to check if they’ve completed the items in the time you intended.

Examples of how to plan for potential failure

  • Find a back-up plan

    Let’s look at a business case. Make a plan by including key partners, activities, resources, cost structure and value propositions. Consider placing everything into a few categories and figuring out where the company is failing.

    For instance, place a large “X” next to “revenue sources” and “important partners” and then redesign the firm by modifying the text in both boxes. The business impact analysis determines the probable repercussions of disrupting the organization’s activities. These evaluations are crucial for mapping out a viable back-up plan.

  • It’s better to be proactive than reactive

    It’s important to have back-up plans in place if something unexpected happens. Identify potential threats that can lead to major failures. For example, what if the primary supply source goes out of business? To adapt and overcome, you must already have a secondary or tertiary supplier in place.


Of course, not every planned failure will manifest into reality. It’s the overall idea that’s important: planning for the potential fallout and being prepared with an efficient response. There are times when a mistake is just a mistake though, and won’t require a significant response. Focus on developing a resilient, future-forward mindset and remember that persistence is key.

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