Using Stories to Create a Pack of Wolves
Pierre Wack is well known as the the father of long horizon planning. Long horizon planning, or planning for a 20-year horizon can reap real business benefits for a world that’s constantly replacing traditional businesses.
How did he do it? He used stories to imagine how a set of “futures” might play out based on today’s key linkages and future drivers. As a result, the realities in-waiting are turned into believable narratives to guide one’s day-to-day action based on what one knows and doesn’t today.
Let’s put things into perspective. One of the most cited reasons as to why some of the world’s biggest corporations folded or lost their competitive edge is the failure to adapt to disruptive changes. However, the underlying story that unravels the true Achilles heel of these corporations is that these businesses simply lacked the imagination to imagine a world without their successful business.
Oftentimes, after a brisk period of commercial success, similar headlines that had ensued in recent years from the consequences of the same oversight are telling reminders that should not be taken lightly. We saw it coming—big airlines disrupted by nimble low-cost carriers, Grab disrupting the transportation industry and the list goes on endlessly.
If we spend some time imaginatively, we can create a strong wolf pack by screening together the possible would-be analysts. For a team to be truly effective, each wolf needs to accept its unique position in the pack, just like a family member does.
To stand any chance of surviving a future that’s constantly rewriting its narrative, a fundamental rethink is needed. This ongoing effort needs to be carried out critically to provide some assurance on the action one needs to take. While it is still unclear which future concepts will assert themselves where and at what speed, what is certain, however, is change will be a constant theme recurring just as you get complacent.
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