Scenario planning and strategic planning
The future is unsettled. Organizations need to execute at the speed of change. Dan approaches scenario planning and strategic planning as an emergent and dynamic journey that unfolds before organizations in near realtime. He helps organizations create roadmaps that document strategic intent that allow them to navigate through the future while remaining true to their core values. Strategic plans organize thinking and offer a way to encapsulate the organization’s vision and a pathway toward the vision.
But strategic plans are not just opinions, they need to be active participants in strategic decision making, reinforcing intent when necessary, yet malleable enough to reflect the current state of the organization as the forces at play in industries and the broader economy dislodge old assumptions and present new opportunities. Dan believes strategic plans should have version numbers, not dates. They should not expire. Strategic plans should document their modifications and transitions. Strategic plans should not be simple, forward-looking documents, but a history of how strategy unfolds.
If you work with Dan, a strategic plan will answer the following questions:
- What is our mission and purpose?
- Vision: What do we want the organization to become?
- What do we offer now and what should/can we (do we have permission) to offer in the future?
- Who are our offers for? (what base of customers do we serve?)
- What do we do that is unique? What differentiates us from other businesses?
- Do we have competitors? If so, how do we become the supplier or service of choice?
- What is our current culture and how do we align it to execute our strategy?
- What internal and external strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats do we face?
- What are our goals and objectives: financial, customers, internal business processes and people?
An organization will use the plans to:
- make better decisions
- reinforce their competitive advantage
- prioritize investments and funding
- offer THE context for moving from intent to action
- communicate strategy to employees and other stakeholders
Augmenting strategic planning with scenario planning
Scenario planning is a process that challenges assumptions that might otherwise assert themselves in the planning process. Strategic planning can be conducted without scenario planning, but those plans are often not as resilient to change or as creative or innovative as plans conducted in the more traditional forms of strategic planning. Scenario planning tells stories about the future that makes people uncomfortable and inspired. They make fearful and hopeful. They make people confront what they don’t know and practice things they might not consider.
Scenarios are a means to better plans, not an end in themselves. Dan helps organizations develop their own scenarios, and also use scenarios he as developed for various industries that greatly reduces the time to value.