Constructing Vision with Scenario Planning
Terry R. Schumacher
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Engineering Management Dept., Terre Haute, IN 47803 USA Abstract Strategic vision is often included as an important component of leadership. Yet there is relatively little guidance offered in the management literature on how to acquire vision. This paper describes practices that facilitate scenario planning so that it becomes a process for creating shared vision. Most of the work on scenarios addresses the mechanics of scenario construction. Those authors adopt a planning perspective and suggest scenario planning can benefit organizations by stimulating creative thinking about the future or ...view middle of the document...
The S2S is considered to be a Level Two Scenario method in the comparison table below. Describing the contrasts between the approach used in the UPS case, and in the S2S, helps distinguish the attributes of the later. Recently the “Strategy-as-Practice” perspective has emerged and is receiving growing attention. It conceptualizes strategy as a social activity, seeing strategy not as something an organization has, but rather something that people do. The S2S method is consistent with this view bringing the Constructivist communication theory into scenario facilitation practices.
Leaders as Vision Providers “When there is no vision, the people perish.” There has been growing attention to the concept of vision in management literature for more than 20 years and there is growing awareness that shared vision contributes to enhanced performance. Zaleznik  distinguished mangers and leaders, and attributed creating new
Schumacher Constructing Vision with Scenarios ! PICMET 2012
approaches and imagining new areas to leaders. He observed that, in contrast to managers, leaders' key concerns were the meaning of events to participants, and that they were "Shaping ideas instead of responding to them". This emphasis on creating a new vision is also the core of the S2S approach. Peters & Waterman suggested the importance of vision 20 years ago . In part, the success of high-performing organizations is due to the high level of commitment among those who undertake necessary tasks. Peters questions the effectiveness of a vision that is portrayed in numeric form as he believes this cannot capture the emotional involvement needed for high levels of motivation . Plans and purely analytical perspectives appeal to the intellect, and this logic does help people understand WHY a goal has been selected. He suggests that vision, through its appeal to emotion can reach the will, and can create a much greater commit to goals, something greater than a mere understanding of the goals. Kouzes and Posner  include "inspiring a shared vision" as one of "five fundamental practices (that allow) leaders to get extraordinary things done." They observe "You cannot command commitment, you can only inspire it" and believe a shared vision is at the root of creating commitment. The leader’s own belief in, and enthusiasm for the vision are "the spark that ignites the flame of inspiration." Senge  comments at length on the important role of vision, and its place in leaders' activities, "Building shared vision must be seen as the central element of the daily work of leaders. It is on-going and never-ending." According to Senge, shared vision creates a common identity that supports trust and communication. It connects people and provides an exhilaration for undertaking important work. He uses a metaphor of a rubber band stretched between one's hands, the existing organizational reality the lower hand, and the vision characterizing an idealized future as the upper...