In my last post, I described ‘keepawakes,’ an issue we explore during the personal goals section of strategic planning sessions. Another important question to consider is that of ‘wrenches.’
A wrench is something in one’s personal life that isn’t currently a problem but could eventually ‘throw a wrench’ into business plans. A really common wrench, for instance, is an aging parent. Often, a business leader isn’t spending time and energy on an older parent–but there is the potential for the parent to experience a crisis (a fall, sudden illness, inability to drive). It is then important to have at least a general contingency plan in place (for instance, having a trusted peer who is willing to handle urgent matters while one attends to the personal crisis).
Another example was that of an attorney whose wife was a C-suite employee. For a few months, his wife was up for consideration to become CEO of a company in another state. The attorney had to determine whether he was familiar enough with the other state’s tax laws and put a hold on any potential partnering plans until the wrench was sorted out (he and his family ultimately decided to stay in Georgia).
What are other wrenches that might throw life out of wack? A chronically ill child? Unstable housing situation? Involvement in another organization? Tell us about precarious circumstances you’ve heard of before.