Plans vs. Scenarios

By definition, plans need a degree of anticipated stability to be of any use whatsoever.

That forecast stability is in rather short supply as I write this, not just in the UK as we go through a remarkable period of transformation, but pretty much everywhere across everything from climate to politics.

One of my “go to” reflection tools at times like this is the Cynefin framework:

I like it’s simplicity. Right now, it feels to me like we’re on the cusp of complex and chaotic.

There’s nothing to be worried about in that (worry, after all is a poor use of imagination. Fear has a purpose, worry just drains us)

It makes planning difficult though. We are best thinking in terms of scenarios- what might happen, and what signs would we expect to see if that scenario was coming about? It’s at the heart of agility- the ability to act on a combination of a minimum of evidence and finely tuned intuition.

It has to be grounded. Be cannot be agile in response to something that’s happened (it’s too late), so we have to be willing to take risks.

Risks have to be worth it. Something important enough to risk failure for. Something far more meaningful than just money. Something bigger than just us. Something that will still matter even if our part in it fails.

When we’re creating scenarios, that meaning has to be at the heart of it.

Otherwise, we’re just passing time.

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