What’s the Best Recovery Scenario?

it’s time to brush-up on your scenario planning skills. What’s the best strategy for your company to revitalize business and take advantage of the many post-pandemic changes we will experience?  

If you’re like me and the dozens of CEOs with whom I work, these are high-pressure, fast-paced times. When the pandemic hit, we had to leave our offices and mobilize our teams to work from home – assuming we still has a business with customers to serve. (My CEOs sit along the entire spectrum, from losing all business to growing faster than ever imagined.)We needed to take care of family, employees, customers, partners and investors. We had to quickly file for PPP and other local and national aid programs if appropriate.

Now, we need to plan for the road back and, more important, how to make changes in our business to thrive in the new normal – before our competitors do! Some things we know: we’ll be walking into buildings with enhanced lobby-based ID checking stations to check for covid-hazard to others. (Expect temperature readers and bioscanners.)  If you’re not in businesses that require your presence (e.g., manufacturing and restaurants) you will be balancing increased demand for work-at-home arrangements. Expect supply chains to change with more domestic content.  Which customers will still be alive; when can they pay? Which ones are shifting their business model which will change your relationship?  Lots more.


The big challenge is to look into a crystal ball and decide what opportunities exist for growth, what risks and benefits are associated with each, and what is your ability to actually execute on a strategy going forward?

This is what scenario planning allows you to do.  Michael Godet explains in Creating Futures, the steps are to:

  1. Formulate the problem – e.g., to narrow or broaden your customer /market/industry focus
  2. Identify key internal and external variables based on experience
  3. Diagnose your firm: what are your areas of competence and impact on strategy choices
  4. Determine your competitive advantages in relation to the market:  competitors and customers
  5. Identify impact of external scenarios – megatrends, new trends, threats and opportunities and risks.
  6. Develop strategic options and possible actions
  7. Thoroughly evaluate the options with additional objectivity
  8. Finalize plan and implement.

Because this is so important, I’ve re-invited our resident Vistage Expert, Gideon Malherbe, to spend time with one of my CEO Boards to apply scenario planning tools to members’ situations. If you’re a local CEO and have an interest in attending his presentation on May 28, contact me at: jerry.cahn@Vistage.com.

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