Strategic and scenario planning builds a deeper
understanding and appreciation of the interrelationships within a company’s
internal and external worlds. It generates enhanced strategic and systemic
thinking, as well as team development and collaborative decision making.
Headwaters has developed two complementary programs to help you build
a cohesive, LivingStrategies Plan. Strategic Planning can be implemented
alone or with the added knowledge that comes from Scenario Planning.
Headwaters Strategic Planning process is designed to create a living
plan—one that is fluid as the market changes and that energetically
guides the company rather than one that gathers dust on the credenza.
This process can incorporate Scenario Planning or stand alone. Either
way, it creates a learning environment designed to enhance the quality
of thinking and creativity in your people.
There are three distinct phases to Strategic Planning:
Our commitment: LivingStrategies Planning will produce an organic
or living plan that becomes the lifeblood of your company.
- Phase I: Headwaters works with
you to establish the scope of work: agreeing on outcomes and timing,
clarifying organizational mission and values, establishing roles
and responsibilities, and identifying the knowledgeable and influential
people who need to be involved in the process.
- Phase II: A residential 2-to-4
day workshop or series of workshops is held to explore:
- Where We’ve Been: In
this section we examine the history of the organization to create
shared understanding of the patterns of thought and behavior, successes
and failures and the key underlying operating principles that have
historically driven behavior and outcomes.
- Where We Are: In this
stage, we examine the current reality of the organization, both internally
and externally. Several different inputs can be used: SWOT analysis
of the organization’s strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats;
examination of the internal and external driving forces, the key
variables that have an impact on the success of the organization; "Fishbowl
Dialogues" on specific topics, and client research or market analysis.
- Where We Want To Go: Here
we help the client define the desired future state, areas of highest
leverage on which to focus, and specific goals.
- How To Get There: The
plan is drawn up with strategic initiatives, tactical action plans,
clear accountabilities, and measures to monitor progress. A process
is also created to ensure both communication and alignment of the
plan as well as implementation. This phase sometimes is documented
during the working sessions using Graphic Recording—a
unique, visual process combining words, images, and color to capture
key decisions, agreements, discussions, points of departure, and
concepts in real time.
- Phase III: Headwaters oversees
periodic follow-ups with the leadership team to track the actions
taken to implement the Strategic Plan and to make any necessary course
There are great advantages when organizations bring employees and outside
experts together to think about and create multiple, possible scenarios
about how the future of their industry might unfold. By postulating a
variety of scenarios, participants better understand the external driving
forces affecting their organization and are better able to prepare for
the unexpected and develop highly innovative and robust strategic plans.
The experience of scenario planning builds alignment throughout the organization
and enables participants and the company to adapt more quickly to changing
There are two phases to Scenario Planning:
Our commitment: Individuals will be more aware of and better understand
the complexity of the organization’s external environment and its implications
for the company. Scenario Planning also makes them more adaptable, capable
strategic thinkers and learners.
- Phase I: Headwaters works with
you to identify the right mix of people within and outside the organization
to participate in the scenario planning. A major characteristic of
building scenarios is ensuring that participants are exposed to divergent
thinking and other pictures of the world beyond their own. We often
create "Learning Expeditions"—real world learning experiences
designed to gain a deeper knowledge of the external forces shaping
the broader world outside your organization. We can also design "Learning
participants come together to explore new ideas, often through reading
books or articles.
- Phase II: A 2-to-3 day workshop
or series of workshops is the core of Scenario Planning. Here we
often invite in "Provocative People" with key subject matter expertise
and divergent viewpoints to help the participants begin the process
of challenging their assumptions about the current and future state
of their external environment. Using "Fishbowl Dialogues," these
experts engage in mind-stretching conversations among themselves
and with participants. Synthesizing all of this learning, participants
then create 3 or 4 relevant and plausible stories about their organization’s
future world and then consider the implications of those scenarios
on the strategic direction and initiatives the company should pursue.
This leads to a solid "living" strategic plan that ensures the company’s
success under a variety of possible directions the future might take.
Headwaters also has worked with a variety of community groups to
craft scenarios for their futures. This can lead to a city or regional