Sticking To The Plan Vs. Adapting To Changing Circumstances!

Sticking To The Plan Vs. Adapting To Changing Circumstances!

Perhaps it’s nothing more than the predictable “Red Herring” politics.
Maybe its just another typical “straw man” issue,  disingenuously set
up, only to be aggressively knocked down by the same side that
originally hoisted the matter in the first place.

But when you grow up in a society that basically has only 2 major
political parties to choose from, you tend to hear that “Flip-Flop”
word thrown around by both sides of the isle pretty much non-stop!

Question: Is it always better to meticulously adhere strictly to the
preconceived plan no matter what changes occur in the surrounding

Equally significant, is it truly a sign of being weak, impetuous, flaky and  without any moral or principaled compass to be willing to observe significant alterations occurring all around and therefore decide to alter or even completely abandon the original charted course that was designed previous to arrival of the newest, latest data and facts?

These important questions apply just as significantly when you are
discussing the world of business, as they do in a debate held within
the field of politics.

Seems to me, too many people are being falsely accused of “Flip-flopping” or “waffling,” from their original stated strategies or business plan, when in fact, all they are doing, is perceptively taking the latest data regarding the ever changing factors that are occurring all around them and altering their map based on the latest lay-out of circumstantial reality.

These wise folk are in no way “Flip-flopping” or “waffling,” from their original stated strategies or business plan. All they are doing, is perceptively taking in and deciphering the latest data regarding the ever changing factors that are occurring all around them and then appropriately altering their map based on the latest lay-out of circumstantial reality.

If I know precisely where it is that I want to arrive and I confidently map out the surest, safest, fasted course to my destination and set sail, only to discover halfway through my journey, that the tides have suddenly severely changed, the winds have altered dramatically and there is a giant “perfect storm” raging directly ahead, am I automatically considered a flaky weakling if I change my course?

Would it truly be a sign of strength, honor, experience, power,  and
decisive commitment to ignore the new information and continue to sail
my ship and all it’s crew, passengers and bounty directly into the swelling gales because “that course” is  exactly the one I said I  was going to take when I left 23 days ago?

The truth is, a smart Captain, a successful Captain, a much respected
and trusted Captain that has lived to sail 1,000 journeys is the one who is willing, if need be and the circumstances call for it, continuously “alter the coarse,” specifically to ensure that everyone arrives safely to their  charted destination.

The path might dramatically change over the trip, but still, the eventual outcome is precisely the exact one that was planned for before the ship ever left dock.

The fact is “NOT” being willing to alter your tack in order to effectively compensate for the continuously changing conditions that befall you while you are out there making your way across the raging seas, is actually a sure fire way of eventually ending up completely off coarse or shipwrecked, crashed out on the heartless jagged rocks, with no sign of salvation in sight.

If the Titanic could have altered it’s pre-set course when icebergs were first observed directly in the ships predetermined path, it would have ended up successfully pulling into port, precisely where it was hoping to end up, with a bunch of very happy, satisfied and probably “return” customers.

Instead, the inability to change coarse in time when the danger was first discovered directly in the middle of the so called “unsinkable ship’s” pre-ordained path is exactly what kept them from successfully reaching their intended objective, and the outcome was death, destruction and not a single satisfied “return” customer coming back for more.

Altering the original path most certainly does not equal a disregard for the original plan. It actually serves to ensure that the mission is successfully, safely, securely and satisfyingly accomplished. Wouldn’t you agree?

What do you think on this matter?

I enthusiastically await your comments and ideas!

Yours Sincerely,

Larry   😉

“On Words And Up Words”

Larry L. Nichols

Words are my paints – Minds are my canvases.


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6 Responses to “Sticking To The Plan Vs. Adapting To Changing Circumstances!”

  1. Máire Clements Says:

    Well put Larry. I believe that all of us need to be willing to adapt as new information reaches us. Preconceived ideas and rigid thinking are behind prejudice and much of the strife in the world today.

    I have found that learning new things and improving anything in small increments is at the root of my personal happiness. I know I will ultimately reach my goal and am willing to change course as needed to get to my destination.

    Indeed, I apply this principle of steady improvement, the Japanese call it Kaizen, everyday in my work with new mothers who are learning how to feed and care for their babies.

  2. Alden Smith Says:

    If a business owner has tunnel vision so badly that he cannot roll with the times, and make changes as needed, he is destined to fail.

    This is especially true in these changing times, when we have “instant everything”. all you need to do in today’s technology is fire up your browser, turn to Twitter, and see how this works. My wife and I had this discussion today. When George Washington or Thomas Jefferson ran for President, there was no instant newsflash through the blogosphere or on the news wire. sometimes it took 6 months for the news to reach people in distant places.

    Now we have not only instant technology, but along with that every person from every culture that weighs in their opinion on everything from the current economic crisis to what Sarah Palin had to say in a remote rally. It is our individual responsibility to filter all this content, and take a really good, educated guess as to what it all means. Not so easy…

    We must be able to forcast where our business is going, and make changes as needed. If others see this as “flip-flopping” and waffling, we must be strong enough to stand up for our own principles and do what is right for us, and our business success. Not doing so means disaster.

    I like your analogy on a ship crossing the sea into a storm. As an old Navy hand, I have seen just this sort of thing happen.

    Great post, Larry!

    Alden Smith~

  3. larrylnichols Says:


    Thank You Sir.

    I appreciate your kind assessment of my words and the additional examples that provided to further validate the point!

    This particular post has been drawing excited responses from all over the business world and I am amazed at the amount of attention that it has gotten outside of the blog itself, at various online forums, social media networks and public portals such a Twitter, FaceBook, and MySpace etc.

    Every once in a while a writer strikes a harmonizing chord with the greater collective consciousness of his fellow readers out there, but what has been most curious is the fact that most people don’t stop to comment about it till they are away from the blog for a while and had the time to really allow it to settle in.

    Thanks for organizing such an amazing reply while still here on the blog and graciously sharing it with us all wile it is still “in context!”

    Larry 😉

    “On Words And Up Words”

    Larry L. Nichols

    Words are my paints – Minds are my canvases.

    Larry L. Nichols is a writer, copywriter, “ghost-writer,” content provider, editor, marketing consultant & online business advisor, successfully helping to build his valued client’s dreams and manifest their passions for over 3 decades.

  4. larrylnichols Says:


    Your story and example is a most fascinating aspect of applying this very concept not only to our lives in a generic sense, but to “LIFE” in the most primal and predominately basic setting, the feeding of our children.

    WOW, you really helped put that into tangible perspective!

    Thank you for that!

    “On Words And Up Words”

    Larry 😉

    Words are my paints – Minds are my canvases.

  5. Ed Personius Says:


    Adaptation to changing circumstances in order to reach a destination, or business goal, very necessary.

    Politicians “flip-flopping” doesn’t fit your analogy.

    Politicians are supposed to serve the people, and when they are elected on one premise, and then switch their activities or position to a substantially different one than that upon which they were elected, they betray a trust. This isn’t “OK” or a good idea. This is dissemulation, or misdirection; the clearest and worst kind of betrayal.

    So adaptation for the sake of reaching a predetermined goal is very different from changing the goal itself. Especially so when you are not “your own man” or, obliged to someone else.

    In the latter case, you must justify to someone else whom you promised a certain outcome, “well I changed the goal and the whole premise because I thought it fit my interests better” despite the fact that you had previously led them to believe the objective was something else. That is unethical and immoral.

    In politics, when you publicly espouse let’s say, conservative ideology, but then once elected, you vote to raise taxes and expand government, you clearly have deceived and betrayed the people who elected you. It happens all the time, but that doesn’t make it ok. In fact, it only makes the thing worse that it happens so frequently. No wonder politicians have a bad name. Same thing with marriage. We say “til death do us part”, but in practice, it’s “til I don’t like you anymore.”

    To sum up, Adaptation = good. Breaking promises = bad.

  6. larrylnichols Says:

    Hi there Ed,

    I appreciate you taking the time to comment here on this post.

    I completely agree with the general principals and with spirit in which you make your comment.

    At the time the post was originally written, the idea of “Political Flip-Fopping” on both sides of the political coin was news item #1.

    I completely agree with your assessment that “Adaptation” is good and wise and “Breaking Promises” is bad and wrong.

    I was simply trying to express the concept that when you first start a business project or run for a political office, you use the best information available to you to determine your goals, express your objectives, make your plans and lay out your strategies / platform in order to successfully accomplish all that you intend to.

    However, in business as well as politics, there are times when after the actual experience of actively being right there in the midst of the all the action, day in and day out for an extended period of time, you come to realize that when you were in the process making your preliminary, projected map to getting where you want to arrive, there turns out to be previously unknown facts, obstacles, realities and misperceptions that you could never have been aware of until you took the action of walking your path.

    At that point you need to take all of the new data from “actual” reality into account and modify the plan to ensure a successful ending to the journey.

    Where I most strongly agree with you Ed is the fact that, while new circumstances can create the need for altering the map at times, the person making such changes should always be 100% honest and upfront about why such changes are necessary, “fess up” and openly admit mistakes and miscalculations and be completely “up front” about what’s going on.

    Realizing there is a need to alter the map is wise leadership, but being disingenuous & dishonest about what’s going on is NEVER acceptable.

    Some of our greatest and most successful leaders suffered set-backs, defeats and unpredicted obstacles, and they were able to wisely alter their course and safely & securely get the ship into harbor.

    But they were truthful and up front about the circumstances that necessitated the change.

    I concur completely Sir, there is absolutely NO ROOM for lying, cheating, stealing, deceiving or breaking promises in ANY venture,be it business, politics or anything else!

    Thanks Ed, those were some deeply powerful ideas and I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to discus them with you my friend!

    Larry 😉

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