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

Strategizing in Uncertainty 

During the start of the pandemic in early 2020, the impact of uncertainty on business strategy was prevalent. No one knew what to expect, which made engaging in business strategic planning and analysis difficult at best. On March 20, 2020, I published an article on using legal based scenario planning to address uncertainties that could impact strategic growth during a disruptive event. The objective of the article was to introduce “Legal Based Scenario Planning” (LBSP) as a tool organizations could use to address legal uncertainties that could impact an organization’s current growth strategy. 

In keeping with this theme, this article will continue on that idea by expanding the use of the LBSP tool I introduced in March 2020. This article will discuss expanding use of this tool to assess the impact of newly enacted laws has on an organization’s current business strategy prior to the date the law goes into effect. With 2023 proving to be a year of changes in many areas of laws – particularly, data privacy, AI regulation, consumer protection, employment laws, cybersecurity, and corporate governance – the LBSP tool can prove to be an invaluable way to assess and understand how newly effective laws will impact an organizations business strategy. 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. In the case of the LBSP tool, the evaluation includes impact of newly enacted laws and regulations that are about to or just went into effect.

Legal Based Scenario Planning for Newly Enacted Laws

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. Similar to traditional scenario planning, the LBSP tool 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. Nuanced differences between the two strategic tools is that under LBSP, one of the uncertainties is legal and one is nonlegal, where two of the four outcomes used to draft each scenario are “Legal Outcomes.”

Legal Based Scenario Planning Framework

Bringing it All Together

Similar 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 as a result of a newly effective law or regulation; and re-strategize growth objectives to meet the new legal standard.

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