Business planning doesn’t look like it used to. The world today holds so many surprises and so much uncertainty. There is constant and unrelenting change, and sometimes it feels like we’re just trying to keep up.
In these circumstances, it’s a good idea to map out possible future scenarios. This type of exercise is often built on several key uncertainties that you’ve already identified. Mapping out the different scenarios is necessary before you can begin to develop strategies to respond to these possible future situations.
One thing you’ll do when you discuss scenarios is make predictions. In some cases, you’ll be able to make predictions with a great degree of certainty. In others, you’ll have to check whether you’re more certain than you should be. In particular, you might be affected by availability bias, where the available information leads you to make predictions with too much certainty.
Because we can’t always be certain, we find ourselves discussing the likelihood of certain events, or how probably they are. It can be tempting at this point to begin evaluating possible strategies, but it’s best to resist this and focus on the scenarios first. And throughout, you should watch out for assumptions that might cloud your thinking, or make you think unclearly.
In today’s dialog, we’ll rejoin a discussion at a large retail firm. Natasha and Daniel are executives discussing their country’s situation with Gwen, who is based in the U.S. The group is mapping out scenarios based on the situation they’ve already discussed.
1. What does Natasha predict with certainty?
2. According to Daniel, how likely is it that sales will go down 30%?
3. What assumption does Natasha call Daniel out on?
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