The following is a transcription of Voice of Bold Business Radio Program 33: Unexpected and Adaptable.

Program Notes Can be Found Here.

Transcript of Program 33: Unexpected and Adaptable

Jessica: This is The Voice of Bold Business Radio, and I am your host Jessica Dewell of Red Direction. You’re listening to Program 33, Unexpected and Adaptable.

The skill of responsiveness is looking past experiences and data, and deciding how to adjust and refine future results. The skill of adaptiveness is different. It’s what we do when we are faced with a situation that requires and immediate action, and changing course quickly. We take in the situation, and then we act. Action is the core. We act, and then we can plan the responsiveness piece.

The thing is, when we find ourselves needing to act, do we have enough preparation, knowledge, and understanding to act well and with the best impact that we’re looking for? The more of those things that we have, preparation, knowledge, and understanding, the easier it is to adapt in the moment.

One time, I was invited to talk in front of a group of business women. When I got there, there were business women, but the majority of the people were not able to immediately use what I had to share.  I was in front of the wrong audience. I took all of the preparation that I had done, and I adapted. I left out stats, I stuck in different information in places to better suit the group. I’m prepared with the information that I have, which allowed me to make changes quickly once I understood that there was a gap between what I was prepared to share, and what my audience was ready to receive. I used it to my advantage. That prior planning. That planning, by seeing what was actually in place in front of me, in that moment of time, allowed me to make a different choice, the correct choice, and a strong choice. I had a good time, and the group as a whole did find the information useful and helpful, and went home happy. 

Responsiveness directly correlates to long term strategy and success. Adaptiveness is about being present in the moment and adjusting to what is.

When we come back, I’ll introduce you to today’s ‘Leaders Discuss’ panel, and they will answer the question, ‘How do you prepare for unexpected problems that are out of your control, and how do you plan to be adaptable?’

Announcer (amid background music): Welcome to The Voice of Bold Business, the show that provides everything smart leaders need to evaluate situations, build relationships, and create solutions. Jessica Dewell candidly talks about the skills necessary to build tenacity, and do more with less. And now, here’s Jessica:

Jessica: Thanks for joining us here for Program 33, Unexpected and Adaptable. Voice of Bold Business Radio is proud to welcome two super smart women that I admire and I look up to and I always learn from both of them.

First we have Carmen Rojas. Carmen is a marketing nerd who loves data and analytics. She has been in marketing for more than 12 years, and she never wants to do anything else for a living. She’s a military wife, a mother of two children, and she has two awesome dogs.

Also with us is Iva. I always shorten her name to Iva, so that I don’t really have to say her last name. Iva, how do you say your last name?

Iva: Ig-nya-tovich

Jessica: Ignyatovich. So Iva is a marketing strategist and a business development expert. She spent the last 17 years helping business owners manage their marketing, advertising and strategy, as well as social media. Her strength is bridging the gap between collecting data and connecting it to people. Welcome Carmen and Iva!

Carmen:  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Iva: I’m really glad to be here and I am extremely happy to meet Carmen because I have heard so much about her, but never had the chance to talk with her, so this is really and exceptional opportunity.

Carmen: Well, thank you.

Jessica: So this ‘Leaders Discuss’ panel question is; “How do you prepare for unexpected problems out that are out of your control, and plan to be adaptable?” Take it away Carmen.

Carmen: Well, first, thank you so much for having me back on your show. This is one of my favorite things to do. And kudos to you! 33 shows?

Jessica: Yeah, isn’t this great?

Carmen: Sweet! Virtual fist bump! Good job! It’s a pleasure to be here with you also Iva. I’m looking forward to this quite a bit. It’s a tough question to answer, because you really can’t obviously, by definition be prepared for those things that happen that are unexpected and unplanned for, because if you did, then they wouldn’t be unexpected…

Iva and I were talking about the joys of working in the marketing industry and our lovely long hours, and often it’s because little is predictable, and as much as she and I both have a knack and a love for data and analytics, that doesn’t make it any more predictable. It just means we can see it when it happens.

I think for me, both professionally and for my clients, and then me as a business owner, and then even as a parent and a spouse, a wife, is to just take things in small bites, and move forward in small steps. It is so much easier to redirect a rowboat than it is to redirect an aircraft carrier. Once you find that you are off-track and all you’ve got is a single-engine rowboat that you have to maneuver, it is much easier to maneuver that then it is when you have to call for Congressional clearance to change direction. That’s my navy wife analogy. I definitely think that when we start talking about marketing and data and processes, we encourage our clients to do small batches. The reason for that is, you set up a months worth of social media at once, something unexpected is going to happen. I can guarantee you. The unexpected happens. So when you do it in smaller bites, a weeks worth, a few days worth, now when something unexpected happens, you can change course much easier than if you had to take down everything you had planned to do for that entire period of time. That’s my tip, or solution I guess, answer to the question is to move in smaller steps.

Jessica: Okay Iva, how would you answer that?

Iva: In business, as in life, actually you can’t predict anything. We can pretend, and we can plan, and we can learn from experience, but basically, after every corner, you can get something unexpected. The best way is to actually accept that something will always go wrong. How I find that, how I try to overcome and prepare is, if you already know a project that you work on, then you, at least with the experience that I have, I can give a sort of fair assessment of where can a problem occur, if it occurs. We can at least prepare for something that might happen at a certain point of a project. Also, it’s something that I always like to say, but we always pay somehow, whether it be through time or money, we always have to pay a price. If you want to save time, you need to spend some money, and if you want to save some money, you need to spend time. Usually our projects with no budget, or very low budgets, you know right away that certain problems will occur just around the corner, as soon as you go there. It’s better to give estimations that are more realistic and not to be… you know, people when they start doing new things, and when they move in to projects, they are very enthusiastic. They are so full of energy, they think that no one and nothing can stop them, and then, the internet crashes, the connection is bad. To be honest, the internet can crash right now as we speak. One of us will just disappear from the screen. There is nothing that we can do at that moment. It is better to prepare by making some kind of at least most common bumps in the road. It’s not (), it’s learning from the experience. And that’s simply that. To be honest, I like to monitor time, how much time I spend on certain segments of work. Once you do that, you can calculate the optimal and then simply add 20 or 30% on that and say this can be our buffer zone.

Jessica: It cracks me up, but it’s also very real, because I can’t think of two better people to walk through this, and think about this whole concept of… it doesn’t matter what action we take, we cannot predict all of the future outcomes and have a contingency plan for every thing. But when we cover our basis and we know what our intention is and we have an understanding of where we’re going, it makes it more realistic to say, ok, we can build this buffer zone.

Let’s talk about this concept that little is predictable. You know, some people have this illusion that there is this concept of control out there. What do you have to say about that?

(all laugh)

Carmen:  We all go through personal and professional stages where we feel like we have control, or we feel like we can exert our influence and the world dances to the way that we want it to. It doesn’t usually last very long, and you usually get smacked in the face with the reality that in fact, you do not have control! I think as a younger person, I kind of went through that. I would probably say what really shook me from that illusion was having children. Because, there is no control over that.

(they all laugh)

Iva: Absolutely!

Carmen: From literally start, to wherever you are, there is so much lack of control over that, it forces you to kind of learn to ‘ride with it’, and to just say, “You know what, it is what it is, and we’re just going to keep right on rolling.” With my kids in particular, especially my son, who likes the idea of control and rules and things like that, and everything should work. “Mom, we should have dinner at this time, because that’s what time we have dinner.”  It doesn’t always happen that way, so if I have to teach him to be flexible, then I have to be flexible myself. I have to model that flexibility. So I have had to kind of shed this illusion of control. Also, being a military spouse, I told people a long time ago, if the military had wanted you to have a family, they would have issued you one. 

(they all laugh)

Carmen: There is truth to that. Very much truth to that. When you move, how long you’ll stay there, how much money you’ll get, all of that kind of stuff is SO beyond your control, and at times it is infuriating, and seems unfair, and like they are singling you out, and it can just literally drive you batty. The sooner that you realize that you never were in control, the sooner you are able to just kind of say, “all right, let’s go”, and then move on to the next thing.

Jessica: Did you want to add something Iva?

Iva: Usually I think about one sentence. “I may stumble, but I won’t give up.” When you have a purpose, when you know where you are going, you don’t know the road, but you know that you want to be at Point B, and not at Point D. You don’t know the road, and you are moving there, so of course along the bad road, you will stumble. The important stuff is that you don’t give up, because you are certain that you are on the right path, and as long as you are making progress, you are actually on the right path doing the right thing. When you come to those unexpected things, if anyone is controlling it, or not controlling it, or if it’s just the course of nature, the most important thing is to stay on that path. Even if you have to make a U-turn and go back like 200 meters, and then find a different road, but you’ll still move toward Point B, because that is where you want to be.

Jessica: What can we actually control? We can really only control ourselves. We can control how we think, we can control what we eat, we can control when we sleep, we can control who we hang out with, all of those choices are ours to make. As soon as we’re interacting with somebody else, any one of those interactions become somewhat unpredictable because we cannot control those things for anybody else. When we try to, when you think of the Super Dads and the Super Moms, the ones who are the primary caregivers and the breadwinners at the same time… there is a cost there, and I know that was one of the things that Iva that you had mentioned, there’s a cost to everything that we do, and understanding what that cost is, going in, will allow what that success looks like in terms of control. What I have noticed in the people that want to do it all, that are trying to control everything, have way less success, a lot higher stress, and usually a lower overall quality of life, and it shows up in the relationships that they surround themselves with, and maybe even in their health.

I was talking about responsiveness, and to me, responsiveness is long term. Versus adaptiveness being in the moment. So what are your top tips for being adaptive? Being able to adapt to a changing situation in the moment.

Iva: If you want to adapt, you need to be flexible. Carmen already mentioned that, you know that flexibility is a very important quality. To adapt fast, you also need to be able to assess the situation fast. And not just do it fast, but to make an optimal assessment. Every kind of adaptation, or iteration, or change, actually is microscopical change of plans, microscopical problem solving, or idea development. You either have to expand, or you have to subtract something, in order for something else to work.

I know that this might sound cliché, and maybe it’s obvious to some people, but I can tell you this, a lot of people, when they hit a road block, they don’t think with their cool heads. It’s not the emotion of rage, or “Okay, I’m pissed because this happened”, it’s that they are in a panic. They hit the road block and they absolutely start to panic and just run in circles. Instead, they should stop, they should pause, even for 5 minutes. I learned that lesson a long time ago. That pause of 5 minutes can give so much insight. Sit, breathe, try to define what really happened, and let’s see how we can move on, how can we solve the problem or issue. Or maybe it’s not a problem at all. Maybe it’s just a little bump, and maybe after 5 minutes you will say, okay, let’s just hop over it, it’s no big deal. I learned that lesson because I worked in a firm where everything was drama. Everything was drama, and because of that, a lot of bad decisions were made, and human interaction was also very poor. They didn’t want to take 5 minutes to sit and cool their heads, and say ‘Ok, let’s see, what can we do next?’

I think that is the best tip from me. Always just be cool. Just be cool and think. Use your brain. You have a brain for a reason.

Carmen: Some amazing answers. I was just scrolling through my Facebook page the other day and someone had a meme about “There’s a difference between a response and a reaction. Which is it that you are going to do, in whatever situation that you might be faced with”. Today, I had to make a decision about whether I was going to react to something, or whether I was going to respond to something. Hopefully we made the right choice in responding to this particular situation.

Back to the original question about adaptation… I think one of the things that has helped me the most is to literally have a faith. Not necessarily a religious faith, that too, but also just faith in yourself, and faith in your ideas, and faith that you are on the right path. That things will eventually work out. This decision is important, but it’s going to work out the way it is supposed to work out, so just take some of that pressure off yourself. Believe that there is a plan for you. This is just part of the plan, but the plan isn’t always a straight line. One of the things that people get hung up on is that they don’t want to make the choice. Sometimes there are decisions and situations that come up that need a quick response. While I agree with Iva that taking a second and breathing and considering your options and making a good reaction to it, don’t let that second become a lifetime, where you never make a decision. Because not to decide is to decide… that you’re just not going to deal with the whole situation. I think what we have to do whether as business owners or individuals, Moms, parents, wives or whatever, there is a concept called ‘pivot or persevere’. You either keep one foot planted and make a turn, which is a pivot, or you persevere and you put your head down and you keep moving forward in the same direction. That’s the choice. When we have these situations, that’s the choice. Either you change course, or you stay going forward.  Once you filter out all the other noise, that’s the choice. Either you are going to change course, or you are going to continue to move forward. I think once people kind of boil down to that, then they can find that the adaptations that they’re making actually do put them in better places.

Jessica: Ok, what you guys both just said reminded me of a story. It seems silly, but I think it illustrates the point. In my life, I am really good at a lot of things. One of the things I am not very good at is taking vitamins. Not only is taking vitamins hard for me, in our house, the quality of the vitamins, and where they come from, and what is the source, and all this other stuff has already been, thankfully, taken care of for me, because I can’t do that part. I would just take whatever I needed to take that I saw on the commercial and I would be good. That’s not how research in this house works, so all of the research has been done. I don’t just take a multivitamin every day. I have got an entire tray of vitamins that I have to take, okay? So here I am, I have high energy, I can easily burn the candle at both ends. But I need to be replenished, but I am apparently missing a few things and I am going to take these vitamins. I start taking vitamins, stuff from every single bottle that’s on this tray in the morning. I’m sitting at dinner and we’re talking about this, and Ryan’s asking me how is your vitamin taking going? And I told him, and he looks at me and says “You’re taking all of those vitamins at the same time once a day? If we look at the bottles, they are supposed to be here and here and here and here”, and I just looked at him and I said, “I just want to take the vitamins. I would like to have that habit. Please, quit making it complicated!”   This tray could be all the people in your life. This tray could be all the problems you face at work, it could be all of the current projects you are working on. Mine just happens to be vitamins right now. So this concept of response versus react, I had a visceral (Jessica roars) come out of me, and Ryan didn’t know where his wife went, and I went off. Finally, I recognized that I turned in to this gremlin, and I said, okay, I’ve got to just think about this and I can’t make any decision right now. I’m having a hard enough time with these vitamins, and I’ve got to come back later. To my credit, I did. I said, “You know, you make a really good point. Here’s my really good point to that. Sure, everything has to be taken in it’s own time. We want my body to do everything that it needs to do with these vitamins, but I can barely remember to take them at all, let alone throughout the entire day. I’m going to need some more help from you.” What did we do? We sat down and we problem-solved. Here’s what it is, this is what it looks like, and this is when you can realistically take all these things… Now I take vitamins 3 times a day. Which is still way too many in my opinion, but at least it’s not every hour throughout the day for a variety of things. It’s a matter of being able to go ‘Oh, I’m going to have a reaction to something’, and then being able to take that space and recognize that I’m either in a reaction and I need to stop, or I’m going to react, so I better stop now, and walking away. What I have found for me personally, and I’m curious for you guys, is, in a situation where I have to adapt, if it catches me out of left field, like, I don’t have vitamins on the brain, I’m not thinking about them, they’re just kind of becoming part of this habit…and all of a sudden I find out all these other requirements, and what I am missing out on, and missing the benefits of, I freaked out. Whereas, now that I had stopped and thought about it, if something else comes out of left field and there’s more requirements, I have more context, I have more structure, I have more connection to what this topic is, and I’m going to react differently next time. Because I have more experience with it.

Iva: 99% of events in our lives are not going to be life-changing events in a second. So if we don’t decided this second, this moment, this very second, the sun will never rise again. Take a step back. If a person is a leader, if a person is truly committed, if a person knows why he or she is doing what they’re doing, a step back can only help them. If a step back pulls them away from a reaction, that for me means that they were not supposed to be in that place at all anyway. For me, stepping back is just a tactic to get your brain out of that vicious circle, and to start thinking in a more logical way. People are emotional. No matter what we do, we do with emotions. If you take a breath, and move on and say, okay here and here. As Carmen said, you can go this way, or you can charge forward. At least make that decision with a sane mind and not out of (?)

Jessica: And recognize that our first reaction might be panic. That’s actually a reality of if we’re supposed to have an answer, and all of a sudden we find ourselves in a situation where we don’t have the answer and we are not prepared, we have nothing to draw on and we’re searching, searching, searching, that’s when our seconds (?)

Iva: I have to say one thing… I learned about 15 years ago, when people ask me ‘What should we do now?’ I say, I don’t know, I need to think. Give me two minutes. Give me five minutes. I’m not going to give you an answer now. I learned how important, and how not terrifying it is to say “No, I don’t know.”

Carmen: It takes maturity, to be able to recognize when you need to take that step back and when you need that moment to just pause for a second. This morning, for example, I got an email from a client, I thought we were all in the clear, and I thought ‘she’s going to love this’. She came back and she was like ‘okay, wait a second’ and had all these changes that we never discussed before. I’m checking my contract, going what the heck, this is not what we talked about, this is outside the scope of what we’re doing. I was really feeling my blood pressure rise, and getting really ticked off. I went, ‘I better not respond to her email right now’. I didn’t respond to it literally for hours, because there is no way, and email is one of those funky things that it is really hard to get peoples intentions just by reading the words, but I’ve often found that when I email angry, my intention does come across. Even if it’s the same words that I would otherwise use. So, I waited. Until I had my coffee, and until I’d done a few other things and just kind of let the blood pressure come back down to normal before I responded to her. Then I came up with a very professional way to say, these are great ideas, let’s talk about this after we’ve had a chance to revisit some of our original thoughts and see how this fits with the direction that we’re going, so when are you available to talk about this? I put the ball back in her court.

Jessica: You bring up a really good point about being intentional Carmen, and the concept of even our emotions are playing a role, whether we recognize it or not. I think that’s what I have learned about myself too is that there are some people that take an action and then it all falls together, and I do that pretty well. There are some people who really have to think. They really have to think and they have to see this really big picture before they take any action. For those of us that like to take action, they are like turtles. Or slugs. Not that turtles or slugs are bad. We’re talking about the speed of these creatures, that’s all. Figuring that stuff out is really important. Other people can’t move forward unless they have a checklist. So when we are thinking about were going to go way high level and I’m going to go back to the concept of being able to adjust in a responsive fashion, that’s like moving a big boat. That’s moving a lot of different things at once. When we are holding all of those things, and we’re making a big plan, that ability to be responsive and make larger course corrections that we can bring everybody along with us, that’s a whole other skill. People misunderstand that. There’s a time for the really big thinking, but then there’s the time like what you were just talking about Carmen, of ‘Can I even answer this right now? Someone is demanding of me, can I even give that to them? Do I want to? What do I think about that?’ I think you’re both very on to something when you say that the longer we’re doing something, the shorter those pauses get. We’re in a place where everything has to be fast, and everything has to be immediate. How do you counteract the immediacy of the requirement of you’ve got to have an answer, you’ve got to do it right now, it’s got to be yesterday, yesterday, yesterday, when we’re all saying that part of being adaptable is taking the space?

Carmen: It’s more important to be correct and to give the right response than it is to give the first response, or a fast response. I think it was right around the time that smart phones came out, and it was like, when you got an email on your phone, you had to respond to it. It was like, if that little blinking light is going off, I have get in there, I have to read it, I have to respond to it, otherwise, like Iva said, the sun will not rise tomorrow, or my boss will get mad, or whatever this is is going to somehow cause death and destruction if I do not answer it right away. I have really had to learn that no, it’s really not that deep. It’s really not that serious. The ability to kind of put some space in between, not necessarily me and my smart phone, but space in more of a philosophical sense around myself. It’s more important for me to give the right response than it is to give the first response. If my right response is right, then they’ll wait, and they will appreciate that this was the right response. If I give a fast response, and it’s wrong, then that doesn’t help anybody out, and everybody loses, and it ends up falling back at me and it’s just a mess.

My son plays chess and one of the things that we have had to really teach him to do is to sloooww down. He is like, ‘Oh, I know the move!’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, but you don’t know the third move that’s going to happen, so slow down, and really think about it’. When he plays slower, he plays great! When he plays fast, it’s not so great. That kind of thinking has really helped me and I think people need to do that more often.

Jessica: Thinking ahead, more than just the next step. That’s where a longer term plan is required. If we don’t know our milestones, we don’t know what our two steps ahead might look like when we say or do something in this moment.

Iva: I’ll give an example from social media. I’m not going to name names, but we have all been (?) to (?) blunders online. When they made some mistake, and of course users on Twitter simply are killing them with comments and complaints, and then they have two responses. One is, lets cover ourselves with blanket and we don’t know that it exists. Let’s pretend. Majority goes to the other side and they are so fast in responding that they usually make another blunder, because they do not think how to do it properly.

Jessica: They have not planned ahead. Because everybody is going to make a mistake.

Iva: Yes, they think they are infallible, that they cannot make a mistake, that something like that will never happen to them, and therefore they are not prepared. They don’t know how to respond, and therefore all their reactions are completely wrong. They are just making more and more and more damage. The thing with the actual planning and making (?) of future situations, it’s just common sense and in chess you know the first move, but you should know at least three potential moves after. Because you are not playing with yourself. In business and life, we are not playing with ourselves, we are playing with other players, and we are not mind readers. At least cover your bases… cover what you can vouch for, what you can be certain of.

Jessica: Let’s not talk about a whole business plan, but let’s talk about a marketing plan since you guys are both in marketing. From a time investment, from a thinking investment, from an exploration element of thing. How do you build a plan, and what do you think is the most important element, or the most important skill used in building this plan?

Carmen: It really depends on what you’re trying to do, and what your goals are. I think that’s obviously the first step is clearly defining what is your goal? I belong to a lot of Facebook groups and nothing irritates me more than when people will say “I’m not getting any support.” I am like, okay, what is the support you are asking for? Are you asking for sales? Are you asking for followers? Are you asking for sign-ups? What are you asking for? And they’re like, “Well, I don’t know, I just want people….”. Okay, well, how do you quantify that? You need to have very clearly defined goal. I want likes. I want followers. I want sales. I want sign-ups. I want video watches. Whatever it is, have a goal in mind. Because I’m a numbers gal, I tend to make that dollar related. How many of these do you need to meet your sales goal, or your profitability index that you are trying to reach? Then work backwards from there. I think the mistake that people make is to go the other way around. They’ll say, half the world is on Facebook I think, or something ridiculous like that. I think 1 out of every 3 people have a Facebook page, or something like that.  So then they will say, I need to be on Facebook because everyone is there. Then I say, yeah, but are they there in the mind space that they are going to listen to you or are they there because they want to watch videos of cats playing pianos? Is that really where you want to be placing your interest and your time? Perhaps there are other options. Being very specific about what your goal is and then attaching to those things that are like aligned is a critical step in developing a marketing plan, or any plan.

Jessica: Okay, and what’s the most important skill that must be employed when building a plan?

Carmen: There are some people out there, that I don’t know how they do it, it’s just not a part of my DNA to be like all philosophical, and ‘Oh, I am going to connect and my customers will come to me because I am exuding such confidence in my aura.’ Whatever! You know, those are not my ideal customers. 

Iva: I know those people!

(all laugh)

Carmen: I can’t do that. It’s not me, and I can’t take those people on as clients because we will fight every day.

Jessica: It’s a little bit of a magic box, isn’t it? It’s like, ‘Ooh here I am and this is what I want, and here’s this magic box of confidence and exudment’.

Iva: They come and they say ‘You know, I’m a Taurus”, or “I’m a Virgo”. Okay, yeah, so? What’s the significance in your horoscope sign? They say, “Well, it’s my personality”. That’s how I met a person who actually does everything by horoscope. Everything. Their whole life, their whole career, everything has been mapped following horoscope.

Jessica: I know people like that too. Like, down to the time of day. They say, ‘No, this hour I’m not going to get the result I want, so I’m going to wait until later this afternoon.’ Not to say there’s no truth to that, because it works well for those people because they’ve fully embraced it and they’ve figured out what it means for them. I think that’s it. Carmen, what you said really matters for you is this concept of this critical thinking piece or this research piece is what I really see as being the skill to bring to the table to make useful plans that can be followed.

Carmen: If you’re not in business to make money, I don’t know what you are doing. Whether you are a non-profit or…

Iva: It’s a hobby. Usually I say to my clients, unless you’re earning money, you’re having a hobby and not a business.

Carmen: It’s a hobby. It’s a pastime, it’s a distraction. But if you’re running a business, the goal is to make money, to turn a profit, and profit is number driven. There is cost, and there is revenue. When your revenue exceeds your cost, you have profit. It’s very very simple. When you are looking at your marketing plan, then you have to be driving towards profitability. Your marketing is a cost, it needs to drive some revenue, how much can you do to get the revenue that you want? People tend to get overwhelmed at times, and I think people tend to get shell shocked by that, like ‘Oh my gawd they’re talking numbers, I can’t keep up’. But you have to force yourself to go through those thought processes of ‘What will make me profitable?’ I do it down to pretty much the day. I could tell you almost per hour how much my company has to make in order for us to achieve that goals that we want to achieve. Do we always meet it? No! But I know what the goal is and I can recognize it when we’re off so that it’s not a surprise at the end of the week or month or pay period or whatever. With some of the unexpected, you could do a better job of forecasting if you plan better in the beginning.

Jessica: Alright. Iva, how about you? How do you build a plan and what skill is the most important that you’re bringing to the table for the plans that you make?

Iva: First of all I think that once you start a project, once you start building something, you want to eliminate the noise. I think that people simply are overwhelmed with noise of all kinds of types. One example is; a bunch of well meaning advice from all kinds of people… friends, family, bridesmaids…’Oh, my sister, she knows this’, or ‘Oh my baby picked this color and I think this is really going to be good for a logo’. Really? Seriously? Silence the noise, and really focus and create some kind of solid base.

I like to say that the most dangerous phrase is no longer “We’ve always done it this way”. The most dangerous phrase is “Because others are doing it that way”. People are rushing in to business trying to copy models and projects and processes from other companies or other brands. It simply won’t work because you are not Nike, you are not Apple, you are not Microsoft. You are something completely different. I think that people really need to be aware, to set that base, without noise, and after that, to set the actual definition of what that company, or firm, or brand, or business… whatever the project is… or simply a product, is going to do. What is the purpose? Other than of course income, other than getting money. What is the purpose? To whom does it serve?

Jessica:  I would even go one step further… how is it different? So the purpose is the difference.

Iva: That’s something that I would just add to those things that Carmen already said. She was right you know, there are so many important steps, so many important qualities. It’s a complex world out there in business. If you do things right at the beginning, your path will be much easier later.

Jessica:  What’s the skill?

Iva: If you ask me, and I know that you’re maybe not going to like my answer, logic.

Jessica:  Yeah, alright. I’m writing this down.

Carmen: I like that one…logic.

Jessica: Logic and critical thinking, and analysis. They are a big part of so much of what we do, and it actually is what lays the groundwork for having a plan that people can follow that is reasonable. That anybody in an organization can be told what their part is and they can see their contribution. So, yeah, unless that thoughtfulness around the logic and the analysis is done up front, we don’t know if we’re on track or not, we don’t know if our people are on track or not. We don’t know how to guide them along the way. And we sure don’t know how to react in the moment because the goal of planning is not to have to fight fires every day. But when they come up that we’re prepared to automatically respond to them a little bit easier and quicker, creating a habit of only responding and only reacting all the time.

Carmen: If you’re not a logical person like I know Iva and I are.

Jessica: I’m not. I’m the odd woman out here.

Carmen: There’s kind of a spectrum of being logical, and I think it would be probably fair to say that Iva and I are probably on the extreme end of being logical. If you know yourself well enough to know that you are not logical… either do one of two things. Hire somebody who is, like Iva or I, or be willing to take your hits, take your lumps. If you recognize in yourself that you’re not logical, and that you are that spiritual, fairy-being, that just thinks that everything in the world works because you wave your magic wand, stick to that! Believe that! Just get somebody else on your team that sees things in a little more black and white.

Jessica: Right. I’m really glad that you said that Carmen. Bringing it out. Recognizing where we are at. What our skills actually are, so that we’re either going for the ride, or we’re doing some planning, or somewhere in the middle. That’s pretty cool.

I want this conversation to go on, and we have reached the end of this program Carmen and Iva. I can’t believe it. Just to remind everybody, this is The Voice of Bold Business and this is Program 33: Unexpected and Adaptable. You can go visit or search the site for Unexpected and Adaptable to find the program notes that go along with all of this information.

Don’t forget, if you like this show, if you are enjoying The Voice of Bold Business, wherever you are listening to us, make sure you are rating our episodes. Make sure you are subscribing so that you can automatically be notified every Tuesday and every Friday when new shows are coming out. Thank you so much for listening, and…. Being a leader today is hard. But it doesn’t have to be.  It doesn’t have to be tiring and hard. It can just be part of a journey. What does it mean to be a leader today for you, and as a leader, how are you handling the unexpected, and planning to be adaptable?

Announcer – Subscribe at and get more information, program notes, and past episodes. Bold leaders approach each situation and focus on action to achieve a higher level of leadership. Jessica Dewell, your business advocate is the host of The Voice of Bold Business Radio. Thank you for joining us.