Often, the power structure within companies inhibits the free flow of debate. People in meetings typically agree with whatever the most senior person in the room says. In particularly hierarchical companies, employees will wait for the most senior executive to state an opinion before venturing their own—which then magically mirrors that of the senior person. Scenarios allow companies to break out of this trap by providing a political “safe haven” for contrarian thinking.
Scenarios provide a less threatening way to lay out alternative futures in which the these assumptions underpinning today’s strategy may no longer be true.
Avoiding the common traps in using scenarios
For all these benefits, there is a downside to scenarios. Inexperienced people and companies are prone to fall into a number of traps.
Don’t become paralyzed
Don’t let scenarios muddy communications
Don’t rely on an excessively narrow set of outcomes
Don’t chop the tails off the distribution
Don’t discard scenarios too quickly
Remember when to avoid scenarios altogether
Don’t use a single variable
Some rules of thumb
Always develop at least four scenarios
“Crunch” the quadrants
There should always be a base or central case
Scenarios must have catchy names
Learn from being totally wrong
Listen to contrary voices
Even modest environmental changes can have enormous impact
Scenarios will not provide all of the answers, but they help executives ask better questions and prepare for the unexpected. And that makes them a very valuable tool indeed.
“ERP Selection: Social Media - not very important. Ease of Use - very important. via @glfceo”—
As ERP tools start to offer integration with online social networking tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., what uses could you see for this type of functionality? 63% Perceive value in ERP/social media integration 37% See no potential use/value
How important do you think integration with social media tools will be in the ERP selection process in the coming years? 6% Extremely important
Are there any other criteria that you feel will impact the ERP selection process in the coming years? What are they? Of respondents 65% said no. Of the 35% that said yes, number of responses, and comments, include:
Ian Clarke created “a Distributed, Decentralised Information Storage and Retrieval System”, or, as a less precise person might put it, a revolutionary new way for people to use the internet without detection - The Guardian