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Building Your Horizon in Uncertain Times

leadership transition Feb 02, 2022

-By Sophie Pinkoski

How many of us could have predicted, let alone prepared for, the eventuality of a world-wide pandemic? An event like this is sometimes referred to as a black swan: so rare, it might as well be impossible within our lifetime.

But if we’ve learned anything in the past two years, it’s not to discount such improbable crises in our future.

Instead, it’s best to prepare for as many future outcomes as possible in order to build resilience within your organization. In doing so, you can face uncertainty head on.  

Here are some ways to make strategic plans in the face of an uncertain future: 

Scan your horizon for potential drivers of change – Horizon scanning is essential for identifying emerging risks and trends. Particularly in a time of constant rapid change, it’s important to keep a regular eye on factors motivating change in the world. Even factors seemingly irrelevant to your organization may become relevant in unexpected ways. 

Scenario plan for alternative futures – After identifying change factors through your horizon scans, imagine how each one could influence your environment, competition, and target audience to create different possible futures for your organization. 

Dig deeper with strategic foresight for your answers – It’s common when faced with a problem to come up with a single resolution and stick to it without considering other options. But your first thought isn’t always your best thought, and it sometimes takes more in depth conversations with your team to strike the best answer to your biggest problems. Strategic foresight–starting not from your current situation, but from the future and working your way backward–allows you to dig into your horizon scanning and scenario planning to better prepare your organization for any eventuality.

By considering a multitude of future possibilities, you can narrow down the probability of each and prioritize your actions accordingly. 

There is power in preparing for any potential future well in advance. When you can imagine successfully navigating any uncertain future, you can better pin-point the role you want your organization to play and start building the future you want to see. 


Further Reading: 

Preparing Your Business for an Uncertain Future, Forbes 

14 Top Tips for Dealing With Business Uncertainty, Forbes 

Learning From the Future, Harvard Business Review 

Strategic Resilience During the Covid-19 Crisis, McKinsey 

How Foresight Enhances Strategic Planning in Times of Uncertainty, CIO 

Risk Management: The Importance of Horizon Scanning, Zurich 

How Can Businesses Combine Hindsight, Insight, and Foresight to Be Better Prepared for Sudden Change?, ARUP 

Thinking Long and Wide | Value of Horizon Scanning, SAP Insights 


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