By Janelle M. Lewis, Attorney, Business & Legal Strategic Consultant

Disruptive Events and Business Growth Strategy

Disruptive events, such as the current Covid-19 global pandemic, cause a great deal of uncertainty for businesses who have to think about their next steps when their growth strategy has been disrupted. Thinking strategically during a disruption is critical to determine the next steps for a business’ direction amidst the event. Scenario planning is a business growth strategy tool that has long been used to develop a robust growth strategy by creating future potential scenarios that can test its vigor in the face of uncertainty. Business decision-makers, strategists, and management consultants are very much aware of the importance scenario planning as it challenges assumptions and forces one to think outside the box when they are evaluating the impact of uncertain future factors on their businesses’ strategic growth.

Legal Based Scenario Planning to Address Legal Uncertainties that Impact The Current Growth Strategy

Considering the time in which we are currently living, I have no doubt that scenario planning is being used on a regular basis. We are living in a time of complete uncertainty and its impacts on business (and on life) are beyond unpredictable in both the short and the long-term. The purpose of this blog post is to highlight the importance of the law in business strategy by introducing Legal Based Scenario Planning and encouraging  businesses to engage in this type of scenario planning to address the legal uncertainties that impact their current business growth strategy. Anything from contract performance issues to legal obligations to employees during business reopening create legal uncertainties that impact business growth.

The purpose of this blog post is to highlight the importance of the law in business strategy by introducing Legal Based Scenario Planning and encouraging  businesses to engage in this type of scenario planning to address the legal uncertainties that impact their current business growth strategy.

Similarities and Differences between Legal Based Scenario Planning And  Traditional Scenario Planning

Similar to traditional scenario planning, legal based scenario planning  (LBSP) seeks to identify the key strategic issue and those key legal trends/factors that will have an impact on business growth by distinguishing the knowns from the unknowns. The other steps under the traditional scenario planning (constructing, writing, and reflecting) are also undertaken during a LBSP exercise. Nuanced differences between the two strategic tools is that under LBSP, the two time periods are generally predetermined (during the disruptive event; and post-disruptive event), but the length of time period is flexible to the assessment needs, as is the case under traditional scenario planning. Additionally, one of the uncertainties is legal and one is nonlegal, with two of the four outcomes used to draft each scenario being legally based.

Similar to traditional scenario planning, legal based scenario planning  (LBSP) seeks to identify the key strategic issue and those key legal trends/factors that will have an impact on business growth by distinguishing the knowns from the unknowns.

Legal Based Scenario Planning Model

Graph for Blog on Scenario Planning - During Disruptive Event

Graph for Blog on Scenario Planning - Post Disruptive Event

Unlike traditional planning however, in addition to identifying key strategic issues, under LBSP two key questions must be evaluated prior to engaging in the exercise:

  1. What was the growth strategy prior to the disruptive event?
  2. What is the status of the current growth strategy as a result of the disruptive event.

Bringing it All Together

bringing innovation to the law banner_LinkedINSimilar to Scenario Planning, LBSP takes the legal uncertainties that can impact business growth during a disruptive event. It allows businesses to embrace the legal uncertainties that impact their business growth during a disruptive event and re-strategize growth objectives after the event has passed (and/or the new normal begins).