Insightful leaders anticipate change and craft strategies that are resilient under more than one future.
Predictions will prove incorrect—history is littered with examples. And as if that uncertainty weren’t enough, we often fall prey to cognitive biases when thinking about the future, further misdirecting our decision making.
Systematic scenario planning is an effective tool to improve the resilience of your business strategy.
Scenarios are designed to shake people out of the “tyranny of the present” and broaden their thinking about possible futures. They facilitate the discussion of what an organization might do in response to how the future might unfold. Unfortunately, this is where guidance from scenario planners typically stops. How can we know if our actions or responses to scenarios are the best ones—or even the right ones?
SDG’s Scenario Workshops prepare your executive team to create value by broadening strategic thinking and to create strategies that are robust across many possible futures, to build on data and analytics, and to systematically incorporate better judgment into your strategy-development process.
SDG’s Scenario Workshop for Executive Teams
SDG will lead your leadership team through a scenario-development process that sets the stage for strategic decision making:
- Workshop Preparation
- Identify appropriate participants
- Define the “focal question” or questions to be addressed in the scenario process
- Brainstorm Driving Forces
- Anonymous idea-gathering via cloud-based platform (STEEP framework).
- Seek broad inputs from wide range of participants.
- Identify Critical Uncertainties
- Identify and prioritize the critical uncertainties
- Initial identification done prior to group workshop using cloud tool
- Define Relevant and Useful Scenarios
- Craft scenarios and related stories
- Identify implications and signposts
- Set the stage to incorporate decision quality into the strategy-development effort
The on-site workshop is typically conducted as a full-day session; a virtual variation can be conducted in several separate interactions over a longer period.
Upstream Oil & Gas JV Strategy Example
Oil & gas companies are facing unprecedented challenges as greenhouse gas emissions are changing the political climates in which they operate and the growing popularity of ride-sharing and clean technologies is accelerating “peak oil demand,” an industry measure of the point at which global crude production will start to decline.
One oil & gas joint venture sought SDG’s help to chart the best course of action in light of unprecedented uncertainty about the future. Beginning with a Scenario Workshop, we worked with the executive team to develop a diverse and compelling set of strategic alternatives. By exploring several extreme yet credible scenarios, the team avoided framing the decision too narrowly and was able to generate several new strategy alternatives that they had never seriously considered before. The ultimate result was a new strategic direction for the venture.
“This is the best piece of strategy work I’ve ever seen.”
— Major Oil & Gas JV / Senior Executive Committee member
For an introduction to the scenario-planning process, watch this 45-minute webinar, Scenarios & Forecasting: Planning for Uncertainty.
Executive Education / Professional Certificate
Scenarios and Forecasting: Planning for Uncertainty is a core course in the curriculum for the professional certificate in Strategic Decision and Risk Management offered by Texas Executive Education at The University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs Business School. This course is now available in interactive live virtual format, on campus (beginning in 2021), and at your company site.
To arrange a program for your executive team, contact SDG’s at +1 650-475-4400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.