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Guiding Your Team Through Inevitable Setbacks

Business strategies, and development planning

By Mark Samuel

It’s when we are sick and tired of being stuck that we are the most motivated to make a change. This could be getting more organized, losing weight, or improving our communication skills.

We create set of habits to support ourselves in making the change and we have a ton of willpower to stick to our new habits. And, it’s going great! We are seeing and measuring results, and getting feedback from others that they notice the difference. Life couldn’t be better, and we feel on top of the world for finally making the change we dreamed about for years.

Then, out of nowhere, we are hit with a crisis or overwhelming situation, creating stress and a level of urgent activity that requires our full attention.

What happens to that new habit in which you received so much recent success? That’s right – we revert back to the old habits that never worked for us, but are more comfortable than the new habits we are trying to make automatic.

Have you experienced this setback? Did you blame yourself for not being disciplined enough, not having enough will power, and not being accountable or keeping your agreements? Did you end up feeling discouraged, frustrated, and even maybe hopeless that this habit will never change?

So, what do we do?

Launching a B STATE Transformation

Part 5: Proactive Recovery Plans – The Secret to Success

Remember, you are not alone! And, you only made two errors in this process. One is expecting that when things are going great you won’t have a setback – this is normal for any human being, even the ones you think never seem to have a setback. Two is blaming yourself as not being good enough to keep up with the new habit that is working for you. There is no value or good at blaming yourself.

Developing Proactive Recovery Plans

Proactive Recovery Plans are used by professional sports teams, musicians, dancers, and Entrepreneurs. They know the importance of not getting caught off-guard and being prepared for anything that can happen.

One of the best examples of this was with Walt Disney, who also founded Cal Arts College. My cousin, Adam, graduated from Cal Arts, and took us for a tour of the college after his graduation. We went into a two-story building that wasn’t very large but had a huge elevator. I asked him “Why do you have such a huge elevator?”

“When Walt Disney came up with the idea of a college, so he developed the architectural plans for the elevator to fit a gurney used in hospitals, since hospitals will always be in need in case the college doesn’t succeed.”

Step 1: Identify Potential Obstacles or Breakdowns to Successfully Changing Your Habits

Some people think this is unnecessary negative thinking, but in reality, it’s more focused on being prepared, so you don’t get surprised by the unknown. And, you are only interested in a maximum of 3 obstacles that are the most likely to occur and throw you off. Some obstacles are easy to handle and make the adjustment. But these are the ones that might cause an emotionally negative reaction or a difficult to correct situation.

Step 2: Develop the Easiest Ways to Recover for the 1-3 Obstacles Identified

It’s important to recognize that a Recovery Plan is not identified to prevent a breakdown from occurring. And, while it could be a Plan B or Contingency Plan, similar to Walt Disney’s Hospital Solution, that isn’t the only kind of Recovery Plan.

Many times, you can’t develop a Contingency Plan, because you don’t have enough information based on what led to the obstacle that surfaced. The Proactive Recovery Plan is simply the identification of everyone needed to convene to come up with a solution as quickly as possible for a decision.

In one organization, they implemented a major change, and made sure to involve all departments in developing the communication plan to let them know if a problem occurred (without blame), but to get them in a room to discuss alternative solutions. Recovery happened in days instead of months, which was their history.

Individually, when I am starting a new eating regimen, I have to consider my recovery plan when I travel to different clients in different parts of the country. This include foods I will take with me and places around where I am staying to purchase foods on my eating program. It may even include communicating with my clients ahead of time, so they are prepared for my meals at their office.

Step 3: Communication and Action Plan

Developing a clear communication and action plan with all impacted so no one is caught off guard, if the obstacle shows up. This is similar to a dress rehearsal, where you walk through the steps of recovery to ensure that everyone is prepared before the incident takes place. This is regularly practiced by fire departments, police departments and the
military given that their lives depend on effective recovery for unpredictable situations.

When proactive recovery plans are in place, the normal reaction of “finding someone to blame” when a breakdown occurs, is replaced by immediate action and movement forward to solve the problem. No surprises. No delays. Just taking the next steps for success.

One customer told our client who had implemented a recovery plan that included the customer in the plan shared, “We didn’t think it was a breakdown. She just though it was the next step in the process.” Customer satisfaction increased significantly and immediately.

The last blog in this series is focused on Tracking and Learning to Stay on the Leading Edge. Stay tuned!

If you missed Parts 1-4 of Launching a B STATE Transformation? Click links below to catch up:


Learn all about B STATE strategies
in my new book at 


Or we would love to talk this through with you directly, 

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