Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, is said to have a sign in her office that reads, “Let’s kick the s— out of option B.” That quote allegedly came from a friend whose life took an unexpected turn for the worse.
I like it for two reasons. First, it recognizes the reality that your plan A isn’t always going to work. Second, it focuses all the same energy and enthusiasm onto plan B. It says that we might have lost a battle, but we still intend to win the war.
We all want to take the direct, easy route to our goals, but sometimes life doesn’t let us do that. Sometimes we even get pushed past option B to C or even D. At those times we have a choice. We can get discouraged, or we can get to work.
As leaders, we can’t afford to get discouraged. If we do, we’ll drag our teams down, and it will take a lot of work to pep them back up again. So we need to do a couple of things for our teams. We need to always have an option B. And, when the time comes, we have to show just as much enthusiasm for that second choice as we did for our first.