What Functional Leaders Should Know About Scenario Planning

Synopsis of an article from Smarter with Gartner by Jackie Wiles Published 24th July 2020

This article explains that scenario planning is a critical tool for functional leaders to establish plans and line up immediate decisions and actions.

“Those who understand how disruption affects enterprise strategic and operational decisions can make small but powerful changes to prepare their own teams to act on the risk and opportunities that come from volatility.”

Caroline Angle, Principal, Advisory, Gartner.

Scenarios don’t forecast the future; they explore what’s possible

Scenarios are not predictions or contingency plans, they identify and develop strategic assumptions on how to respond in different likely scenarios.

Know the objectives for your function

Scenario planning needs to align to the companies broader vision, mission and goals but at the functional level it:

  • Ensures focus on critical growth and transformation initiatives
  • Establishes the highest priority decisions that go ahead no matter which scenario unfolds
  • Provides due diligence on the short term in line with scenario parameters
  • Prepares a risk mitigation strategy for different scenarios

Diagnose implications of scenarios

Analysis on Supply and Demand
understanding the impact of changes to requirements for the functions service by the wider organisation.

Strategic analysis on risk exposure and potential opportunity
Consider how risks and potential opportunities would change the work that the function does to support specific scenarios in the organisation strategy.

Bring Scenario planning down to earth

build a playbook that enables the team to clearly define actions they need to start or stop to prepare for a scenario. Ensure that the team has diverse participation to ensure that broad representation of interdependencies are fully captured.

Prepare to capture opportunities

Response strategies are not all negative and there are going to be opportunities for growth and efficiency that will likely to come up during the planning sessions, make sure you that you don’t lose them!

Read more: A Framework for Executive Decision Making During COVID-19

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