I looked into the future, and the time to act is now.

Scenario Plans (& Delphi Research)

Tag: Contingency Plan

Survival Plan

Survival Planning: using scenarios in times of extreme uncertainty

Survival Plan

A Recession is destructive innovation. It has accelerated, for example, the Amazon effect of online sales and purchases with the closure of some 29 retailers. The recession of the 2020 Pandemic is different in some respects, straining local restaurants and bars, even the best of local.

In the Great Recession of 2008 (Dec. 2007 through 2008), Hall wrote an Chapter in The Refractive Thinker™ related to survival planning (Hall, 2009). The planning process starts with the existing plans, and jump-starts a plan for survival. Following is an extract from the conclusion of that article. Note the emphasis on Scenario plans and building them into contingency plans for the uncertain future. Many companies find themselves still in survival mode at the end of 2020.

The full planning process would provide a typical organization with one of the key elements needed to do the crisis management planning necessary for making sound decisions. First, scenario planning might have provided an early warning alert to help minimize the impacts of the recession or other major event. Scenario planning for the uncertain future is even more critical under crisis. Often the new official view of the organization is tentative, at best. This means that one or more of the alternate views that are being considered in the revised scenario plan will now be more likely.

During times of extreme uncertainty, focusing attention and resources is critical. All of the prioritized products and services should be reevaluated to make sure that priorities reflect the current situation. This is not the time for across the board cuts with the idea of being equitable to everyone, even those people and resources that fall outside the organization’s core.

Every year that people are unemployed is a lost year of income for them, a lost year of production for employers, and lost gross domestic product that the nation will never recouped. Engaging employees in the survival planning process will likely produce ideas and outcomes that will be more advantageous for the employees, the customers and the organization.

Times of stress occur during all major transitions in the environment, internal or external. Even the hyper growth that can occur when recovering from a recession will result in major growing pains. Teamwork and focus are key in planning for, and weathering, duressful situations and coming out of them with an enduring competitive advantage.


Hall, E. (2009). Strategic planning in times of extreme uncertainty. In C. A. Lentz (Ed.), The refractive thinker: Vol. 1. An anthology of higher learning (1st ed., pp. 41-58). Las Vegas, NV: The Lentz Leadership Institute. (www.RefractiveThinker.com)

Military Scenario Planning

It is hard to imagine a world where the (US) military did not make plans for a pandemic like the coronavirus (COVID-19). Each and every military must have a plan for weaponized bio-warfare. In fact, every military will have their own plans for ways they can weaponize biowarfare. Think about the types of bioweapons the terrorist groups might want to employ?

The military has been planning for the big issues of global warming and has been shouting out that climate change is one of the biggest risks to the world in the future. Droughts and rising sea levels will produce mass instability in regions, much along the line of the human tragedies in Chad, Sudan, Syria, etc. For decades now, the military has warned of the risks of climate change on US national security. Pentagon, for example, here.

With the pandemics that have passed through (Ebola, SARS, mosquito-borne) over the last 10-20 years, this too is a national security threat.

In the spirit of Scenario planning, setting up sign-posts and early warning signs, you have to wonder when the military started to escalate the coronavirus outbreak in China to the highest risk levels of world, and therefore US pandemic. November? December? The military would already have contingency plans to help other countries. By early December 2019, the signposts were visible for a spread from China to the rest of the world. By mid December, the US mainland would have been clearly at risk.

The power of having scenario plans, early warning signs, and contingency plans, can break down anywhere along the line. All of the planning in the world is useless, if you don’t react and implement.

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