What do you do when stuff happens? In the first three blogs of this series, I talked about “If You Aren’t an Expert, Hire One”, “Are You Using the Right Gear” and “Do You Know When to Shift Gears”. The fourth of this series is “Do You Have a Back-up Plan”…because stuff will happen.

In early July, I fished with my dad on Lake of the Woods in Canada. He is a pro and a fishing guide in his retirement. We typically cast for muskie in the rocks and weeds along shore. In fact, 90 percent of the time, while in Canada, we fish for muskie, the king of fish. However, muskie don’t always bite and when they aren’t, we switch to catching fish that are.

This time we went after some walleye for dinner and drove the boat to a faithful spot. While jigging, my bait snagged in a rock 20 feet below surface. I intentionally cut the line and since I no longer had enough line on that rod, I switched to a light, salt water, 8 ½ foot rod with 10 pound super braid line and a 20 pound fluorocarbon leader. In the second cast, the fish struck. It took out line/drag. I reeled with all my might. My pole bent in half and my muscles ached. It was a 33.5 inch, 14 pound walleye! Imagine if I had my original 7 foot rod with 8 pound test line tied directly to the bait. The line would have snapped and my trophy vanished. (Check out part 3 of this blog series for a view of the real catch.)

My dad is always prepared for problems in the boat. He has multiple rods and reels, different types of bait, back-up batteries, extra jackets, paper maps of the lake, first aid of all kinds, two sources for boat gas, energy bars, etc. You name it, he has it! Do you have a back-up plan if something fails?

Stuff happens every day. In business, it is a bigger deal than in fishing for fun. It is how we deal with the challenge that matters most. It is impossible to account for every possibility. However, there are many that we can prepare for. Here are a few examples that I’ve run into during my career. Do you have a plan to deal with these or other issues that may come your way?

  • Product recalls
  • Staff downsizing
  • Key employee resignation
  • Sale of your company
  • Lack of staff to tackle a large project
  • Unmet clinical study end points
  • Lack of the reimbursement code you were pursuing
  • Lack of money to continue to fund the start-up
  • New federal regulations
  • A dishonest executive
  • A failed IT system
  • Inability to manufacture product due to an unknown mechanical issue
  • …and more!

Our time should not be solely focused on contingency plans. However, we should carve out some time to prepare for the likely scenarios. Then when an issue arises, you can act quickly, avoid a misstep and negative impact to your organization, and advance your goals and career.

To learn more about how other medical device, bio-pharma, health IT and healthcare companies have partnered with us and tapped into our skilled professional talent pool, contact me at 612.703.4236 or email me at pnorbom@talencio.com. Talencio has been the preferred provider of vetted, accomplished professionals to the Life Sciences community for over eight years.

Cartoon from iboats.com, November 20, 2012, Big fish somewhere

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