Thinking about the future

Woody Wade is a writer and advisor on scenario planning. His blog discusses the questions and perceptions around scenario planning and its relevance to business in the current climate

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Woody Wade on Scenario Planning

I’m very happy to kick off this new blog here on the EP Magazine website. Many thanks to the EP team for making it happen!

What will the blog be about? The obvious – yet far too superficial – answer to that question would be “scenario planning”. After all, that’s the name of my book (Scenario Planning: A Field Guide to the Future), and it’s the focus of my work as a consultant to various organisations in the hospitality sector. So it would make sense that this valuable and truly fascinating business technique would also be the centrepiece of the blog.

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But I’d prefer to take a somewhat broader perspective. What I’d like this blog to address goes beyond a mere planning methodology (which, let’s face it, sounds as if it would be dry and academic). I hope that we can get closer to the very heart of leadership, which to me comes down to these four things:

  • First, acknowledging that, if you are the leader of a business enterprise, then it’s you who’s responsible for identifying the necessary steps that your organisation needs to take if it wants to continue to be successful – not only next quarter, but ten years from now as well.
  • Second, understanding that if you are going to start preparing your organisation now to maximise its chances for long-term future success, then you need to have some idea what your future business and competitive environment might be like. How could the lay of the land change for your business? It’s sure to change, but the question is: how? Answer: in myriad potentially important ways, some of which may be entirely out of your control.
  • Third, in practically the same breath, having the courage to admit that you don’t really know how your business environment will look ten years from now. How could you? How could anyone? We’re talking about seeing ten years into the future! What your business environment will be like in the year 2023 is simply unknowable today, and if you claim otherwise, you are doing your organisation no favours.
  • Therefore, fourth, being open to the idea – and hopefully, downright keen – that you should explore the possible ways the future could develop. With a better understanding of the changes that could realistically be in the offing in your future, you can make better strategic decisions today and be better prepared to grasp the opportunities (and fend off the threats) that you’ve identified as possible elements of your future landscape.

As Woody Allen once said, “I think about the future a lot, because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.” It’s this whole way thinking I hope we’ll address in this blog.

See you soon!

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