Foreseeing what’s around the next bend in the road

Foreseeing the future is not a parlor game—it’s a must.

One of the most important tasks your organization faces, no matter how big or small, is to assure its future-readiness.  That means putting together a strategy to ensure it can be successful, not only today, but five or even ten years from now.

But between today, when you make your plans and decisions, and that future point in time when they are hopefully having some positive impact, countless trends and events are going to change the landscape: 

  • Not only will political decisions and economic trends be influencing the new terrain, but new products and technologies will have arrived. 

  • Just as important, in this futurescape, people’s attitudes, values, and beliefs will have evolved as well, so the needs of your customers, business partners, employees, and many other stakeholders are very likely to be different, too.

Is there a way to get a handle on how this future landscape might look? Yes. By using a technique called scenario planning.

Exploring alternative futures

Although nobody can chart the road ahead with 100% clarity, scenario planning can help you foresee the shape of things to come. And by visualizing how things could realistically develop, you can better identify obstacles and opportunities.

With this structured, creative method, you identify the most critical uncertainties that could affect you in the future, and envisage how they could plausibly play out. You don’t predict what will happen, but explore what might happen.

And because it stands to reason that each of these potential future scenarios will probably present you with a different set of opportunities and challenges, you can then develop ideas for strategic initiatives or innovations for each future landscape—actions that will contribute to the success of your business when this particular scenario actually arrives.

In a constantly changing world, one thing is certain: If your strategic plan today is essentially a bet on one specific future developing, you may find yourself taken by surprise when things turn out differently. Scenario planning helps you see, and prepare for, alternatives.

It’s a fascinating, eye-opening process that is highly valued by the people who go through it together. In a one-day or two-day workshop, you can gain valuable insights as to the nature of the future that may be awaiting you "around the next turn"—and understand how best to prepare for it now.

WHY should you undertake scenario planning?

“I have to lead for tomorrow’s world.”

With these words, Jeff Immelt, the former CEO of GE, summed up the main challenge CEOs face, namely that the key job of a business leader is to ensure that his or her organization is not only competitive now, but remains competitive in the future. You make plans now to improve your position tomorrow.

But if you don’t know how…. click to continue: