Get Back on Plan

Get Back on Plan Now for a Better 2021

August 13, 2020

It’s time to get back on plan. I’m pretty sure none of us had “deal with unprecedented disruptions spawned by a pandemic” in our 2020 plans. Most of us have been “off plan” since March. Many of us have essentially lost half a year of making progress on our plans.

Instead, we’ve been trying to figure out how to stay true to always be communicating. We’ve been trying to figure out how to open back up. We’re asking, which lifeguard are we going to follow? When are we going to get a signal that everything’s going to be okay? It’s tempting to keep waiting for that “all clear,” but waiting means not moving forward – not dreaming big. 

Don’t Wait for ‘The End’

COVID is an edgeless crisis: a disruption with no clear, well-defined end. We simply cannot hold off until there’s an end. Now is the time to get back on plan.

I spoke with a client recently about a major initiative that they’re getting ready to launch in January, and it’s simply going to happen. They’re not waiting for COVID to get out of the way. Instead, they’re making some strategic moves now to set up a big announcement in January. They’re treating it like it’s going to happen. And it is.

It’s refreshing not to be talking about COVID or having it dominate every aspect of our conversation. Yes, it’s still here, but we’re learning to live with it and not let it get in our way.

They’re getting back on plan. All of us had goals for 2020 – strategic business goals, personal development goals, organizational goals – and they haven’t gone away. 

Let’s use this season of COVID as an opportunity for a creative response to our goals for 2020. Now is a time for creativity. How can we take what we’ve gone through, are still going through, and use it as an engine of creativity? 

Creativity Gets You Back on Plan

Let’s dust off the plans that we had at the end of 2019. They contained valuable things that we wanted to pursue. Can we find new and creative ways to make them happen? Can we adapt them based on our current reality so we better position ourselves for the next reality?

It’s up to you as a strategic communicator. Bust those silos. Think about innovation. Find your bigger pasture. We’ve been making things up as we go for five months now. How can we use these new models and changed policies to make ourselves better? Thinking like this gets you back on plan for the rest of this year and sets up a successful 2021. 

I think it’s really going to be important for organizations to figure out the next big thing. Launch it, lead it, push it through, and make it happen. That’s what people are going to be looking for: something aspirational and greater than what’s going on now. We need to find those opportunities as strategic communicators and talk about them with people who matter. 

So get back on plan. Use this season of COVID for creative energy and enthusiasm to build something great for 2021.


Bill is a reputation management, crisis communications and professional development expert, keynote speaker, Wall Street Journal Risk & Compliance panelist, and best-selling author of Critical Moments: The New Mindset of Reputation Management. He has more than 25 years of global experience managing high-stakes crises, issues management, and media relations challenges for both Fortune 500 companies and winning global political campaigns.