Super Charge Your Strategic Plan with Scenario Planning
The future is a mystery. Strategic planning may not fully prepare you for the curve balls of the future, but it can help us prepare to keep moving forward on the path to success. The best way to form a contingency plan is to have more than one solution to possible problems. “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” – Napolean
The strategic plan doesn’t involve your competitors, but the internal business and familial struggles and the world as a whole. There are sometimes individuals on your team who may play “devil’s advocate” and question the logic behind the strategic plan. Others may doubt the company’s goals and their chance at success due to planners falling for positive toxicity in their understanding of the Strengths, Opportunities, Weaknesses, and Threats that loom ahead.
“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.” – Salvador Dali The future is a unknown, but we can test our strategic plan against predictable, probable and possible scenarios to prepare for the “what if’s”. It’s important to form a plan that is flexible in order to think strategically and incorporate uncertainty into policymaking, challenge conventional wisdom, and question core assumptions in current thinking. Scenario planning helps us avoid over forecasting and under estimating which in the long run will help move to the next level of success.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela
Let’s focus on a Scenario Planning process involving four steps:
Step 1: Brainstorm over a fixed period (18-36 months) a. You have a 15% increase in sales; b. You have a 15% decrease in sales; c. You have little to no change in sales.
Step 2: Identify trends & possible disruptive factors such as: a. Marketing demographics; b. Interest rates; c. Technology changes; d. Competitive mergers and acquisitions; and, e. Societal disruptions.
Step 3: Create a template that covers these questions: a. What will happen if this change occurs; b. What will not happen if this change occurs; c. What will happen if this change does not occur; and, d. What will not happen if this change does not occur.
Step 4: Incorporate the scenario into your overall planning process. a. Develop contingency plans to stay proactive when there’s a change. b. Review and create new scenarios every time you focus on the master strategic plan.
Scenario planning can assist you in moving your business to the next level of succession. Instead of watching things happen, you can make them happen. You’re now at a decision point that will affect the way you plan your business success. I’ll leave you with these words from Theodore Roosevelt:
“In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
Contact Us and we can help you with insights, and other resources, and see if it makes sense to work together. At the very least, in 30 minutes, you may get some ideas you can apply to your business right away.
We know the future isn’t certain. Experts, scholars, and even economists did not predict the dot.com bubble burst, the financial meltdown in 2008, or Covid in 2019; this is where Scenario Planning comes into the picture.
In short, Scenario Planning helps us avoid two significant planning pitfalls: Overprediction and Underprediction. Both can be barriers to moving to the next level of success.