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Risk Containment Tool: PACE-Planning

Risk Containment Tool: PACE Planning

Contingency planning is deceptively simple. Everyone knows it’s important to have a Plan B, but all too often people forget to plan for an outcome than the one they expect. Preparing Plan B is a standard part of the military planning process and one of their contingency planning tools goes by the acronym PACE, which stands for:

Primary
Alternate
Contingency
Emergency

Instead of one back up plan, PACE-planning prepares three – all four with the same objective. Often, the alternate plan is a variation of the primary plan to be used if conditions change. The contingency plan exists to be used in case something goes wrong, and the emergency plan exists in case everything goes wrong.

PACE-planning may seem like overkill, but often Plan B is simply not sufficient. Often Plan B goes something like, ”We will cancel the project” or  ”We will reject the deal”. When plans and projects go awry, they usually do so by degrees, over time, and the problems are usually cumulative. The original plan changes and mutates until no one recognizes it – and often no one recognizes how wrong things have gone before a lot of time and money have been lost.

PACE-planning not only provides alternatives to the primary plan, it prepares the organization to deal with the changes – changes that often are inevitable. PACE-planning accounts for this by preparing parallel solutions that can quickly adjust to change.

The most important benefit of PACE-planning may be that it helps create a culture that constantly thinks of alternatives. What if this does not work? What if conditions change? What if something goes wrong?

The organization that thinks in alternatives prepared for the unexpected – and positioned to take advantage of it.

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