Note from the publisher

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 1 December 2002



(2002), "Note from the publisher", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 30 No. 6.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2002, MCB UP Limited

Note from the publisher

In a strong start to 2003, our first issue, Decision-driven scenarios of the near future, looks at innovative scenario methodologies for managing discontinuity in the near term. The five feature articles brought together in the issue and outlined below investigate how decision-driven scenarios might be used to gain foresight over the next few months and years.

Scenarios for planning post 9/11: managing the impact of a catastrophic eventCharles Thomas, Peter Kennedy, and Charles Perrottet

Managers need a framework for assessing various kinds of risk and uncertainty that will continue to confront corporate decision-makers post 9/11. The authors suggest an innovative scenario process that provides business continuity planning and medium-term operational planning with rigorous analytical grounding but without excessive complexity. The authors introduced alternative scenario-based tools to respond to a specific need for continuity assurance and near-term operations planning in three case organizations. In Case One, business continuity planning for the management of one leading global financial services firm committed to a process of identifying and remedying gaps in the recoverability of its key assets. Workshops developed strategies that would close unacceptable asset recovery gaps in two scenarios. In Case Two, medium term operational planning for a professional services firm in the weeks that followed 9/11 evaluated the plausible range of impacts on their business and operations as the US and the world took action and terrorist groups responded further. Case Three reports on how three years ago, the US Coast Guard developed scenarios for very long range strategic planning for their long view project. The Coast Guard developed ten basic strategies from these scenarios, the fourth of which was "Acquire full maritime domain awareness". The goal was to give the Coast Guard the ability to acquire, track, and identify in real time any vessel or aircraft entering America's maritime domain. Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) turned out to be highly relevant for USCG decision making both before and after 9/11. Of all the major US federal services involved in the 9/11 response operation, the Coast Guard was singled out for its agility and preparedness.

Using scenario planning to make better near-term decisions Hugh Courtney

Some classes of scenario planning tools and techniques are designed to inform near-term strategic decisions. Of these, some are more appropriate for lower levels of uncertainty, and others are best suited for highly uncertain, truly ambiguous business environments. The author's typology of scenario planning tools and techniques enables managers to select the right scenario planning tool for near-term strategy decisions, based on the degree of uncertainty they face.

Scenarios and strategies: making the scenario about the businessDavid H. Mason and James Herman

To persuade top management to actively participate in a scenario development effort linked to major decision making, this method makes the client organization and its strategy alternatives the central focus of the scenarios. A compelling benefit of this form of scenario planning is that it pushes management to see the business and its environment as a system co-evolving over time. The process can become a forum for a healthy debate concerning the scope of the business and the importance of emerging environmental changes.

Competitor scenariosLiam Fahey

Several leading companies have employed scenarios both to better understand current competitors' potential moves and to anticipate the possible emergence of new rivals. They have mastered several principles and a number of ways to avoid process pitfalls. Experienced managers use competitor scenarios as a source of learning about the broader competitive context and of the implications for their firm's strategy and operations.

Using scenarios to focus R&DGill Ringland

Scenarios provide managers of R&D programs with alternative views of the future societies and markets. By previewing what research would be a priority in these possible future environments and what would be constrained or unmarketable, a number of firms have successfully used scenario planning to improve current R&D decision making. A case study of scenarios for an Information and Communication Technology R&D program details the process and its implications for corporate planners.

Finally, to round off the issue, Brian Leavy explores the essence of great leadership in his "Strategic Leader" article, "Understanding the triad of great leadership – context, conviction and credibility". Based upon a decade of research, this author concludes that leadership effectiveness at the CEO level can best be understood in terms of three main elements: the context; the conviction; and the flow of credibility over time and tenure. The implications stemming from this are important for a proper perspective of business.

Related articles