While the formal use of scenarios in planning strategy can be extremely complex, costly, and time consuming, the general methodology has been adapted and can be used for creating robust implementation plans for the organizational “Grand Strategy” generated from a Prometheus session.
In general, scenarios revolve around believable “plots”, or stories that describe a range of alternative futures relevant to an organization’s success. These stories help an organization understand how their strategy would unfold under different circumstances. By exploring the circumstances in advance, companies are better prepared to respond quickly to changes in their environment and adjust their strategy accordingly.
Prometheus creates the strategy. Scenario Planning, or the creation of strategy alternatives is an integral part of the Prometheus Grand Strategy creation process. This is usually done as part of Phase IV, Finish With Finesse. An objective of this phase is to build up a rich set of mutually exclusive strategy alternatives that respond to the issues, implications, and key success factors identified in the Future Picture development (Phase I) portion of the process. Strategy alternatives are developed for aligning the internal organization with the external environment. A strategy alternative is one course of action that can be taken. It is one possibility. However, the problem with a given strategy alternative, is that it may not work.
As soon as a strategy is selected, the world starts changing, and all types of emergent events happen to challenge the strategy alternative. A set of scenarios provides the option, not the obligation, to pursue a given strategy alternative. A scenario allows a strategy alternative to be kept open until more information is obtained about the uncertainty surrounding the alternative. Scenarios can limit the risk and reduce the uncertainty of a Grand Strategy by understanding and planning Exit Points and Exit Plans in advance.
The Scenario Process makes execution of strategy more likely.
As stated earlier, the general approach for creating scenarios can be used to create robust implementation plans for Prometheus strategies. The team simply images the various places where the strategy must be implemented, and, using the tools of Scenario Planning (focal question, driving forces, pre-determined elements, critical uncertainties forward look assessments, and probability analysis), help simulate the environment(s) in which the plans must be carried out. This can be done at the macro level within the Prometheus Process to create high-level implementation plans which are “reality checked”. The process can easily be repeated to a lower level of sophistication at each site where the strategy is to be implemented.
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