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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.

Strategic 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:
  • 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 corrections.
Our commitment: LivingStrategies Planning will produce an organic or living plan that becomes the lifeblood of your company.

Scenario Planning
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 circumstances.

There are two phases to Scenario Planning:
  • 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 Circles" where 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 planning process.
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.