Change in Plans: Embracing Adaptability in Leadership


Be stubborn about the vision, but flexible with your plan.” – John C. Maxwell


In the journey toward achieving our goals, having a well-crafted plan is essential. However, no matter how meticulously we design our path, change is an inevitable part of life. To navigate the ever-shifting landscape of opportunities and challenges, we must be willing to adapt and modify our plans as necessary.

A change in plans can arise from various factors, including the emergence of new opportunities, shifts in community needs, alterations in partnerships, or the impact of economic and societal changes. These changes can range from minor adjustments, such as tweaking timelines or revising expectations, to major decisions that lead us in an entirely new direction.

Embracing change in plans doesn’t mean abandoning your goals but rather reevaluating how best to reach them. A “Strategy Screen” can be a valuable tool in this process*. It enables us to assess how these changes align with our broader vision and objectives. By asking critical questions and evaluating the impact of the new circumstances on our goals, we can make informed decisions about whether to adapt, pivot, or stay the course.

Here are just some of the questions to consider as you evaluate your plans: 

  • How does this strategy or initiative align with our mission, vision, values, and desired impact? 
  • How might we scale this? 
  • How does it leverage our strategic advantages? 
  • How might this strategy or initiative detract from other opportunities? 

Adaptability is a key component of resilience and success. By remaining open to change and using it as a catalyst for growth, we can not only weather the storms of uncertainty but also harness new opportunities that come our way. In the end, the ability to pivot when needed can be the difference between a plan’s success and failure on the path to achieving our dreams.

Speaking of plans, are you ready for 2024? If you’d like a deeper conversation about the Strategy Screen, reach out to my colleague Kellie Wardman.


*Hat tip to David LaPiana for the strategy screen framework

Posted by Bruce Berglund
Bruce Berglund

Written by Bruce Berglund

For nearly 30 years, Bruce Berglund, CFRE, has been a successful professional fundraiser in the fields of higher education, arts and culture, and social services. Bruce is the CEO and Founder of DBD Group (formerly Donor by Design Group), a national firm providing comprehensive fundraising services to nonprofits, churches, community colleges and schools. DBD is currently managing more than $3 billion in capital, annual and endowment campaigns. Bruce is a highly sought-after writer, speaker and teacher.

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