McKinsey have recently published a brief paper offering tips for strategic planning in the current environment.  The three key tips are:

  1. Be realistic about scenario planning – “In a highly uncertain environment, the advantages of scenario planning are clear: since no one base case can be regarded as probable, it’s necessary to develop plans on the assumption that several different futures are possible and to focus attention on the underlying drivers of uncertainty”
  2. Intensify monitoring – “The company’s strategy, in short, must account for many more contingencies than it has until recently. Since the effectiveness of such a strategy depends on an organization’s ability to adjust rapidly as the fog starts to lift, managers must identify and intensively monitor key indicators suggesting which scenario might unfold”
  3. Look beyond the crisis - “devastating as the current downturn may be, it cannot roll back fundamental market
    trends—such as the aging of consumers in Europe and North America or the continued economic development of Brazil, China, India, and Russia—which will continue to create strategic opportunities and threats”

Unfortunately, these are three things that most workforce planning approaches don’t do.  All too often we see organizations looking at only one possible future scenario; building a headcount plan they don’t monitor at all; and worst of all, saying that “there’s to much change to look into the future”.  As McKinsey points out, these are critical mistakes for people planning right now.  And they are avoidable – including these three tips in your strategic workforce planning process is not difficult – and gives you better results.  Are you following McKinsey’s strategic planning advice?

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