Last week we attended the Association for Strategic Planning (ASP) annual conference in Toronto. ASP drew private and public sector strategic planners from both small and large organizations across all parts of the world. The event linked strategy planning theory to real world examples to show how effective planning produces better results.
Several of the planners that we met were looking for new tools to help them build more robust plans and accommodate dynamic markets. During the event presentations, the presenters offered examples of a full range of strategic planning tools used to anticipate change. The main tools and strategies included scenario planning and war gaming, modeling, the importance of implementation, and using tracking tools to demonstrate the impact of implementation on strategic success.
One major theme of the event was exploring how participants could use scenario planning to anticipate emerging challenges and dynamic environments. Support for scenario planning as a crucial tool that empowers planners to explore strategies based on current trends and anticipate market changes was widespread, even among attendees who were not actively using scenario planning for strategy development.
The key to optimizing strategy is to understand both the market environment and the competitive environment. At ASP, it was clear that companies that prioritize both have more successful strategies, and are able to thrive under a wider range of market conditions. A key component of Fletcher/CSI’s strategic decision support, whether it be delivered through scenario planning or one of our other services, is to always include the competitive perspective. This perspective helps clients think outside the entity boundaries, and account for a broad range of changes, which adds a dynamic to the planning that produces more robust results.