This month’s blog and newsletter topic is “unintended consequences.” When a company reacts to events in the environment or the marketplace without examining those events for themselves, that reaction can have consequences. The usual excuse for them is, “We didn’t intend those consequences—they were unintended.”

A leader’s job is to avoid such consequences. This is done through a leader’s primary function: analysis, prediction and planning. When all three of these have been completed, it then becomes a matter of implementing planning and keeping it running successfully.


Planning Implementation

Once you have put planning into action, there is a simplicity to keeping it running successfully. What you’re basically doing is

  1. Paying attention to what is working, and
  2. Reinforcing and strengthening it.

As you find factors or areas of your planning that aren’t succeeding as well as you’d hoped, you adjust or change them to ensure a successful result.


Reverifying Data

In the beginning was your analysis stage, where you examined all the data you had gathered and verified it with two-stage analysis (comparing sources of the same data to see if they match up).

As you proceed with your planning, you need to continually reverify your data. Things are constantly changing, so a piece of data you are consistently relying upon could also change, which might require change in your planning. Therefore you should constantly keep an eye on that data and make sure it’s accurate.

Note that changes in your market should be part of your prediction. There will always be changes and reactions within the marketplace because that is continually happening.


Beyond Two-Step Verification

It can happen, and you may discover that the data you originally researched turns out to be inaccurate. In such a case, your planning will not succeed, as inaccurate information will throw it off.

Such a discovery usually means that you didn’t do enough homework. Your research wasn’t thorough enough, or you didn’t verify your information with two different sources.

But even if you utilize two-factor authentication in your original research, sometimes even that isn’t enough—sometimes, you have to find yet another source on which you can verify the data. The more verification you do, the greater the certainty and trust you can have in your basic data.

No matter how many verification steps you take or how certain you are, you should always continue reverifying data. This should be continued as a routine action throughout your planning implementation.



We live in a dynamic world that’s always prone to surprises. Therefore big anomalies, such as natural disasters or unexpected military conflicts, can spring up that you don’t see coming. In the U.S., hurricanes can wreak havoc in the Southeast, and elsewhere in the world, we have the Russo-Ukraine war. Another great example was the COVID epidemic and consequent lockdowns. No one expected that, and everyone had to hop to it and immediately change their plans.

When such unexpected high-impact events happen, you will probably have to return to the beginning of your analysis stage and start over.

You may have been operating successfully on old analyses and planning that worked for many years. But this new scenario must be investigated. What do you know now? What are the current facts? You then verify, analyze, and then predict and plan once more. It is, indeed, a never-ending cycle.

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