(Almost) a Resolution for the Future

At lunch on New Year’s Day, my friend said: “I do not make resolutions, but I always take a look at what might be coming up this year and try to brace myself for it.” On a personal level, what might be coming up this year for us? Well, we will likely see an increase in our personal income taxes; we may also be moving (our lease expires in July); we’ll take a trip or two to visit friends and family. Certainly, we will plan for each of these future events carefully—adjusting our budget to account for less take-home pay; researching places to live; saving gas money; getting the car tuned up, and more.

But should we also do this type of planning in our organizations? We at Zelos call it scenario-based planning, orplanning for the inevitable. Our goal is essentially like my friend’s—we take a look at what might be coming up this year, and we get ready for it. Below is how Zelos helps our clients with scenario-based planning.

Teaching Scenario-based planning

First, we get to know the organization so that we can help identify likely and reasonable scenarios that may occur this year. These scenarios may be internal scenarios (such as the retirement of key staff, or an office move), and they may be external scenarios (changes in regulations, shifts in client demographics, or release of new technologies). We work with leadership to define the scenarios, and then we facilitate a planning session to brainstorm as many possible approaches to these scenarios. During the facilitated session, we do not try to solve the scenarios with a single approach, and we do not talk about why things won’t work (this is incredibly hard, we know). Instead, we brainstorm as many approaches as possible, and then we look for common themes between them. From those themes, we then work with leadership to identify initiatives and activities that will help the organization plan. The independent Zelos facilitator creates a safe place for sharing ideas without judgment, and the Zelos work after the facilitated session ensures that the organization’s plan can be implemented.


The Leadership Case for Strategic Planning

Making a Case for Strategic Planning I know what you are thinking. You are thinking: “Why should I…