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Five planning tools for the world after COVID-19

DuckerFrontier, May 4, 2020

Many multinational companies are seeking to evaluate how their business needs to adapt to the world that will emerge following the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. They are facing questions from “How will the competitive landscape in my industry evolve?” to “Will customers change their behavior permanently as a result of COVID-19?”. Each question does not have a clear answer and invites speculation. Teams should use newly-adapted planning tools with tried and true frameworks that allow them to structure and define areas of uncertainty in their plans, pressure-test their assumptions, and envision different scenarios for the future.

While executive teams are managing a complex global crisis, which will require continued investment in short-term monitoring tools, they also need to ensure they are laying the foundation for a strong future. Doing so requires making assumptions today about what the world will look like tomorrow and building plans that can stand the test of time despite the inherent uncertainty given the current situation.

Our global economics experts evaluated and adapted which planning tools can support executive teams looking to assess the impact of COVID-19 on their business and build scenarios for how their operating environment will evolve, as well as key actions to take to begin this process.

Essential Planning Tools for Dealing with Uncertainty

  • PEST(EL) analysis: organizing and structuring a broad range of questions about what the post-COVID-19 future may look like
  • Narrative scenarios: thinking through highly uncertain, potentially contradictory paths forward and reviewing their implications for decisions taken today
  • Heaven and hell scenarios: thinking through extreme versions of what the future could look like in pre-defined areas; forcing teams to be creative and challenge the status quo
  • Contingency planning: identifying a specific disruptive event and building a holistic set of strategies across functions to prepare for it and be able to act very quickly if necessary
  • Pre-mortem: evaluating a decision or initiative and pressure-testing areas where it could fail ahead of time; identifying the most critical success factors before launch

Suggested Actions for Executive Teams

  • Identify the major challenges you are trying to address beyond the immediate COVID-19 crisis and how fit-for-purpose your current plan is for these.
  • Define which is the group of executives within your organization that needs to actively be thinking about and pressure-testing assumptions about the post-COVID-19 world now to ensure the right decisions are made in the short term to support these strategies.
  • Carve out time and provide your team members with the right tools to make the best use of their energy to pressure-test plans without overinvesting in static plans that can quickly go out of date.

Since COVID-19 began impacting China in December, we have been working with clients who need to build a view on the post-COVID environment for their business. Our team of experts are happy to provide this type of support to your team given our cross-industry and geographic knowledge, as well as our deep understanding of how external trends intersect to impact your markets. Our team has created a Recovery Plan Reset, a series of customized support modules, to provide you and your team with solutions to your industry, geographic, and business challenges. Contact us to learn more about how you can access the modules.

Our team of experts are closely monitoring COVID-19’s impact on the global economy and business environment. View our latest coverage on DuckerFrontier’s COVID-19 Resource Hub and subscribe to The Lens, our weekly newsletter covering the latest global events impacting your business.

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