Monday, August 24, 2009

Scenario Planning-When to Use

Scenario Planning has become a more important tool. Organizations facing change and leaders who are uncertain about how to proceed are conducting scenario planning as a method to manage the unpredictability of our times. None of us really know where this economy is going and how we will be responding a year from now.

Many organizations are facing deficits - reductions in funding and/or sales. Some organizations have lost major funding sources and have to reduce staff, eliminate programs and are having to fund raise in different ways. Other organizations are also facing increased client demand for services from families and individuals being negatively impacted by the recession. Their funding levels are not keeping pace with the demand for services.

Other organizations are concerned about future funding sources and want to stay ahead of the curve by wisely conserving resources now and ensuring their organizations are positioned to weather further changes.

Scenario planning provides a method for conducting an organizational conversation about how to manage change. It provides a set of steps for managing this conversation and provides leaders with some new tools. Organizations concerned about the future who are convinced they will need to respond to change that has yet to be defined are perfect candidates for scenario planning. As a leader, if you are certain that your organization will need to respond quickly to a set of outside forces that are not yet predictable, then scenario planning provides a method for organizing a set of options or future scenarios. It provides a process for a board and staff to dialogue about change, determine their options and formulate action plans.

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