Strategic Scenario Planning
Creating multiple strategic scenarios during strategy retreat facilitation is a great way to envision, prepare for, and thrive in possible futures. The strategic scenario planning process can give you alternative windows into the future of your marketplace and provide a viable roadmap for making strategic decisions that can sidestep risks and leverage unexpected opportunities for growth.
The key to effective strategic scenario planning is twofold: customization and purpose. The scenarios need to reflect your specific business context and include your specific challenges. You also need to consider the point of the exercise.
Strategic Scenario Planning Best Practices in Seven Steps
The process can be broken down in two major phases: choosing which stories to tell and actually telling the story. At first, your thinking will be broad and encompass a variety of ideas. Later, your strategic thinking should converge on prioritizing, drawing implications from the scenarios chosen, and summarizing the results into meaningful strategies for action.
This can be either specific or open-ended. For example, is the issue a matter of which product deserves a major investment of resources or whether you need to completely shift from a product to a services operation?
Then consider what additional forces could have a bearing on your scenario. Everything from an economic downturn to a pandemic should be considered.
Remember, the point of this kind of planning is to gain insight into the strategies that can help the organization protect against or take advantage of changes in your marketplace.
Ideally each story would outline the current situation, key challenges, implications, and potential actions.
These are the ones you should act upon. The more unpredictable should be shelved until they become more certain to play a role.
The Bottom Line
Strategic scenario planning gives you a tool to survive or take advantage of various contingencies. Use it as the foundation to build strategies that support your future survival and to outperform your peers.
To learn more about creating strategic clarity, download Do You Have a High Performance Organizational Culture to Drive Your Strategy?
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