Leaders in thriving companies know how to use reframing as a tool, to not only transform themselves over time, but guide the entire business through its journey to an unknown destiny (somewhere in the future). Why somewhere? One of today’s key thinking patterns (in strategic innovation and other disciplines) that focuses on guiding organizations, is the ability to plot the path of execution during uncertain times.
Reframing, as a method of thinking about the future gets us to question the reasoning behind why we do things in a certain way. Reframed Reasoning might include the ability to leave parts of the business open to innovation where emergent trends and signs are used to guide execution.
So, do we need a strategy and execution plan then? Maybe I’m a bit harsh on this topic, but it is true that our strategies are constructed based on yesterdays understanding of tomorrow’s challenges. But, now that tomorrow is here, what are we doing to correct the thinking problems of yesterday? The business that is built to thrive knows how to create the careful balance between the completely unknown and the highly articulated business models. It known that the only way to get this right is to reframe the thinking of the leadership in all areas of the business and then to allow this thinking to be executed.
On the subject of scenarios and where they fit, reframing does not relate to the act of scenario construction. It relates to the process of thinking, reasoning, and inductive stimulation of the experience, while trying to articulate some alternate futures. Various methods exist to define scenarios and then to play out scenarios. One such example is where we guide our thinking by trying to articulate the things that will stay the same and that are not really changing, from the things that we have control over and can change. Playing out a scenario is when we discuss the potential paths of execution and look at the barriers that need to be overcome to achieve some alternate future.
Again, the value is in the process of thinking of the alternatives and debating and internalizing the many options that will influence your thinking subconsciously. Reframing is about getting a group of people to believe in an alternate future to the extent that they take ownership of the reasoning needed, in order to explain the potential roadmaps needed to get there. Having a well described and documented set of scenarios actually means nothing without it being reflected in the behaviours of the people. Having the ten step plan or the one thousand activity action list does not make you successful.
What makes companies that are built to thrive successful, is the ability to propagate the reasoning and thinking into the heart of the organization?