Connect Your What If Scenarios to Your Strategic Plan - dummies

Connect Your What If Scenarios to Your Strategic Plan

By Erica Olsen

In the beginning of your scenario planning phase of your strategic plan, make a strong connection with scenarios and strategy by choosing a decision or issue that has significant strategic implications to your organization. After doing that, use one of the following four approaches (listed from easiest to hardest) to connect your scenarios with strategic decision making:

  • Evaluate a specific strategic decision. For some short-term uncertainties, you may need more fully developed scenarios to help you arrive at a definitive decision or action. Decisions may include investing in a new plant or entering a new market.

    This question is likely the same as you previously called out, but the outcome is clearly defined to help you reach a go or no-go decision based on possible operating conditions developed in the scenarios.

  • Evaluate your existing strategy. Determine your strategy’s effectiveness in a range of business conditions by testing its success under each of the four scenarios you developed when you were building alternative futures for your plan. Identify modifications or shifts that require attention.

  • Develop your strategy based on a single scenario. This approach is based on selecting one of the scenarios as a starting point and focus for strategy development and then using the other scenarios to test the strategy’s viability and assess the need for tweaks.

  • Develop your strategy to address all scenarios. This approach is the most robust to linking scenarios to strategy because it requires the development of a resilient strategy that can deal with wide variations in business conditions found in the scenarios you developed earlier. You can expect this strategy development to require additional time because a repetitious process is necessary to create a comprehensive yet coordinated strategy.