Response Readiness Part One: The 10 Steps of Scenario and Contingency Action Planning

29 Oct 2020


s the end of the year looms and thoughts turn to 2021, the instability and uncertainty COVID-19, global politics and environmental disaster have created for societies, organisations and individuals in 2020 look set to continue.

So how will your organisation ensure it is ready to deal with the range of potential futures that lie ahead? While the events of 2020 are unprecedented in their scale and impact for most of us, there are learnings from the past that can help us plot a course for the future.

Identifying the driving forces that could shape your organisation's future and preparing for them by creating scenarios and contingency plans, can have a significant impact on its success. In their book, Great By Choice, Jim Collins and Morten Hansen identify what they term ‘Productive Paranoia’ behaviour employed by “10x companies” (those that outperform their industry peers by a factor of 10). The leaders in these companies constantly ask "What If?" and develop plans to exploit or defend against potential outcomes. Collins and Hansen explain that 10x companies are no more or less lucky than their peers, but they are able to react more quickly and take rapid action to mitigate or exploit events.

At Oliver Wight, our research has found that whilst most organisations recognise the value of scenario and contingency planning, many do not undertake it with sufficient rigor to gain the full benefit – preparing to respond to the potential scenarios that will have the most significant impact on them.

To help organisations get Ready to Respond we have created a 10-step process for Scenario & Contingency Action Planning detailed below.

In our upcoming series of blogs, we will provide more detail about each of the steps required to move your organisation from reactive to responsive.

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