No one could have adequately planned for COVID-19. Not only did it come unannounced, it has changed things at such a rapid pace that what you thought you knew yesterday is outdated by the time you drink your morning’s coffee the next day. This is a crisis, which means you cannot plan for it.
But you can be prepared.
You can always prepare for the eventual disruption, recession, or crisis. You can ensure that your cash flow is positive, that your business serves diverse markets, and that your team has a plan of action for when crisis comes.
And some form of crisis always comes.
Perhaps, you can see this difference more easily in other walks of life. For example, I can be mentally and physically prepared for a golf tournament. But I cannot plan what kind of shot I am going to hit on the 13th hole. Even with the tee shot, I can plan to hit my 3-wood and come to find the weather changed. With new conditions, such as a change in the wind, do I follow my pre-round plan? Considering that I am always prepared to hit a cut shot down the left side of the fairway with my driver, the answer is that I am prepared to hit either.
Golf analogy aside, it is the leader’s job to think through situations and be prepared for anything.
You can plan for little.
You can be prepared for lots.
See the difference?