Our mental models or paradigms shape
how we perceive and how we act. We often unwittingly interpret
the world based on an unconscious set of assumptions that
may not be accurate or may not be the whole picture. If
we create and implement plans on this basis we are in
for a rude awakening. What's more, the future is not predictable,
yet we must act.
We can address this challenge in
part by engaging in Strategic Thinking. One purpose of
Strategic Thinking is to move away from predicting outcomes
and move toward a better understanding of the forces that
compel an outcome. In Strategic Thinking the focus is
not only on what will happen, but on what we will do if
it happens. This then leads us to what we would need to
do now, and going forward, so that the organization is
optimally poised to take the appropriate action.
We can approach this task of preparing
the organization to cope with change in part by using
scenario generation. In generating scenarios, we take
what we know, surmise, or can speculate about the current
and postulated trends and develop "what if "
stories of possible futures that the company could find
itself in. Then we consider how our business strategy
would fare in each of the scenarios we have generated.
It is key to generate some scenarios thinking outside
the box of "current wisdom" or knowledge or
else we miss the point of the whole exercise.
Once we have generated several scenarios
and considered the challenges generated by each, we consider
the impact on our strategic options. We can then see that:
- some actions will be required
regardless of which scenario comes to pass,
- some need to be taken so that
the company is positioned to deal with likely changes,
- some can be taken that are more
important for some scenarios than others, but do not
create harm in any scenario.
This gives us a lot of legitimate
strategic options to consider before we even venture into
the territory of options that are good if one scenario
comes to pass, but bad if another one does.
Scenario generation and analysis
provides a good balance of external focus when coupled
with the more internal focus of other aspects of Strategic
provides assistance in
Scenario Generation and Analysis.
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